For the silent majority …

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

An open letter to those with power & influence…

Just a few months ago we sat among people who gathered to remember the Good Friday Agreement 20 years on. The sense of history in the room couldn’t be missed.

News reel images & stories from the stage brought reminders that remarkable conversations and journeys and relationships had created a special moment in the story of this place. There was a sense of pride in the room. We had made history.

But what of now?

There was much mention that day of the need for breathing spaces; the idea of nationalism or unionism gifting each other with the grace and space to breathe. We’ve seemed short of breath here for quite some time.

Young people get beaten and shot by men with guns who feel they have the right to judge and punish. No space to breathe here.

In communities still the whispered threats that paramilitaries run this place. Tonight I walked past an open window of a house where a party was going on. I heard a man lament that if his friends didn’t drop the noise he’d have the paramilitaries at his door. No space to breathe for them.

Flags go up. Protocols are announced by groups claiming to be representative of the community. But what of the views of those outside their circles who feel scared to say they want to live in a place where all feel welcome. No space to breathe.

And all the while – Decisions go undecided, change is stymied, reconciliation & peace building gets undermined by the fact we’ve no government.

We love this place, we feel the swell of its potential, as you must. And so our plea is – let’s keep trying – to engage, to build trust, to intentionally reconcile ourselves to each other.

Our poverty is in our separation. Our biggest fear is that the cycles of disagreement don’t get broken. Our biggest hope is that our generation will be the ones to see real change – to see peace drip down into communities that are dying for breath.

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