The Unholy Walls of Belfast
Most of us have a nodding acquaintance with walls of one kind
or another, and in most instances our encounters with them have
not been pleasant. At work or in social and family relations we
have been met with walls of silence, the occasional wall of shame,
and the general wall of indifference.
Then there are the physical walls enshrined in history, the Walls
of Jericho, the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, the Great Wall of China,
and closer to home the glorious (to some) Walls of Derry and the
infamous (to others) Walls of Limerick.
More recently we had the notorious Berlin Wall partitioning the
city between communist East Berlin and democratic West Berlin,
erected in 1961 and mercifully consigned to the annals of history
when dismantled twenty-eight years later in 1989.
Its removal was a major step in the ongoing removal of barriers
between the nation states of Europe, the most recent being taken
with the adoption of the euro as a multi-state currency in January
of this year, 2002.
Where does the city of Belfast fit into the scheme of things?
According to recent reports it is fast becoming the last walled
city in Europe, but with a twist. Unlike China's Great Wall, all
1,500 miles of it, built to keep outside hordes at bay, the walls
of Belfast, those already erected and some still in the planning
stage, have one purpose and one purpose only, to partition the
city into enclaves, modern ghettos, some inhabited by Christians
of the Protestant persuasion, the others by Christians of the
There are many reasons, but all stem from the artificial partitioning
of the island of Ireland in the 1920s.
In an article in October last year "Hate-Lifelong
Hate--Worldwide Hate" this journal of independent thought
detailed the daily agony of the children attending the Holy Cross
school in Belfast, and of their parents.
Now, eight months after the first outbreak of naked hatred against
the wee girls attending Holy Cross school, comes a proposal--since
repudiated--by "security chiefs" to build a 40ft high
wall across the Ardoyne Road as a partition between Protestant
and Catholic Christians, with the hope that the children will
thus be blocked off from the hatred directed against them.
The route of the road itself would be changed.
Such a proposal is not new in Belfast. There are dividing walls,
partitioning walls, elsewhere throughout the city.
While the rest of Europe is intent on removing barriers between
peoples, walls are the solution adopted to safeguard civilians,
young and old, as they attempt to live normal lives in Belfast.
On January 21, 2002, as the United States celebrated Martin Luther
King Day, television programs focused on the events at Little
Rock, Arkansas, in 1947-48, as black students were subjected to
similar, if not worse, displays of naked hatred as those experienced
daily by children in Belfast.
Fifty-four years after Little Rock, Belfast remains sunk in sectarian
hatred, unworthy of Christianity in any accepted sense of the
The Unholy Walls of Belfast are a blight on the Christian conscience
| Canadian Vindicator