Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Belfast Riots

The past two nights I've sat on my sofa and looked out my living room window seeing a crowd of young ones gather at the interface at the end of my street.  The expectation was that the republican rioters at Ardoyne were moving up the road to attack the community I live in.  Fortunately this did not occur and the crowd dispersed after about 30 minutes each time.

I used to do youth work in the area and two things a fellow youth worker said always resonate in my head about interface youth.  He'd been involved with paramilitarism and served time in jail with his youth work was a means to do something positive.

The first was on upbringing and morality.  His parents had tried to bring him up with good values and he was a regular attendee at Sunday School.  He described the outcome thus:

"When I was doing everything that I did there was a little voice in the back of mind. It was the voice I got from my parents and sunday school. That little voice kept telling me what I was doing was wrong and eventually helped me get myself sorted. You tell a growing chunk of young ones that something is wrong and they just look at you. I don't think they have that voice."

The second was what the generations that had lived through the Troubles tell the next generation:

"Some of them used to ask me about the Troubles and sometimes I'd tell them. Later I noticed it was the same ones who I had to chase away from interface riots. So I refuse to tell the stories now. I was helping fill their heads with shit."

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