I am sharing a link to an interesting website (http://www.jerestecharlie.eu/en/belfast) which, taken from the perspective of a team of German journalists, shines a light on our wee country. I was interviewed, along with a few others, about our experiences of the conflict and in particular finding out how people from around the world can become resilient in the aftermath of trauma and terror.
When talking to our young German visitors I sensed that they were focused on the Catholic versus Protestant dynamic that is common among many people on the outside looking in. This is something that filters through in their section dealing with Northern Ireland. They also conveyed to me a sense of gloom among many of the people living in and walking about Belfast. I put this down to the really bad spell of rain that drenched our city a few weeks ago into which they arrived but they felt that Belfast was a city of the walking dead. A depressing observation which counters the Northern Ireland Tourist Board narrative that we should all ‘Be Inspired’ by Belfast.
There is also a simplistic piece on the nightly gathering at Twaddell Avenue but they called it as they saw it. I sensed that they were very fearful when they visited the area. They felt the tension in the air and feared that violence could erupt there at any time. I don’t think they will be back up there anytime soon.
Anyway, I will let you judge for yourselves and try not to be too critical of some of the prose as I think that it may be lost in translation. Especially the line where the author innocuously describes my ‘…mighty neck, that adjoins [my] face round as a ball, just like a smiley balloon’. It reminds me of a friend who would compare my head to that of an ‘Albuquerque Turnip’. ;-)