I was chatting with my 16 year old granddaughter recently and we were discussing the political situation here in NI following the debacle over the recent funeral arrangements for a Republican funeral. She also told me about comments circulating on Facebook about Noah Donahoe. Horrible sectarian comments that no 16 year old should have to see.
‘Hopefully my generation will sort it out, she said. None of my friends want to see what’s going on. We don’t care about religion, colour or whether you’re gay.’
I had to be honest with her and tell her that every generation blames the last and promises to make changes that never actually happen. For a good many years after the Good Friday agreement I really thought we were at last going to change our society, where sectarianism and all the other isms were a thing of the past.
But like an ancient tree whose roots are buried deep I soon discovered that the roots of sectarianism and evil in our society is deeply rooted. The roots reach out and push though to the surface occasionally and break up the facade that we see as peace.
We will never get past the them and us mentality while these roots are spreading under the surface and entwining yet another generation.
It has become more apparent in recent days that some of those who are supposedly working for the good of all of us my not be entirely invested in that objective and their roots came to the surface at a time when we needed to be looking out for each other. It became obvious that it was a case of do as I say not as I do. Many of us who lost relatives were unable to attend their funerals or comfort their families. Not to mention the fact that we do not wish to spread the corona virus by encouraging large gatherings.
Now what was going to be a peaceful 12th July has led to a ‘tit for tat ‘ situation with bonfires springing up in areas where there had been an agreement to have none.
Could no-one read the room? Could no one see that the misguided actions of a group of people would cause hurt to all sections of the community, including their own followers.
Their actions have led us to a situation where the Assembly is once again in danger of a possible shut down. Our deputy first Minister is being asked to step down in a repeat scenario of 3 years ago when the First Minister herself was also asked to step down. This led to the suspension of the Assembly.
I can’t see a future where this will change, where we will live along side all our neighbours peacefully. It may be that like the corona virus we may just have to live with it and expect that the roots will break through to the surface from time to time. Only time will tell. I hope my granddaughter’s generation will be able to make a bigger success of it than we have.