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you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle,
Same Old Story
In July violence erupted once again on the streets. Groups consisting mainly of young men rioted day and night. The issue of contention a state backed sectarian procession unwelcome by the majority of people in the area. Consensus on the controversy impossible in an area entrenched by death and hate-led violence as a result of a diversity of allegiances.
The irony that the people are engaged in an historic peace deal which is apparently - according to those in power - beneficial to all who live on the island. This is not reflected in the events that have both plagued and internationally depicedt the area. Images of young children unable to make their daily journey to school without suffering at the hands of terrorism – under the auspice that it is a peaceful protest to highlight the inequalities faced by the community.
However essential it is to have a voice and be heard it is definitely not within the spirit of community action to throw bombs in the paths of four-year-old girls. The Holy Cross protest, as it became known, lasted months and although given mainstream media and government attention it seemed never to come to an end. And then, as abruptly as it began so it ended. Images then of the two-minute walk to school without the security forces in full riot gear - aptly defined by PUP representative Billy Hutchinson as “ ninjas” - was subsequently hailed as progress by all parties concerned.
Was any progress really made? The deep divisions raised their ugly heads yet again. The youth of the areas, young people who in a few years will be parents of another generation themselves, vent their anger and frustration in the form of violence. Young people who share the same life chances are willing to subject each other to the most horrible inflictions of pain, illustrated by the use of acid and petrol bombs and other devices with potentially lethal consequences. The lessons learnt by a life of a young man ending while in the progress of this activity have long been forgotten.
Each side defining their actions as reactive helps to clarify for himself or herself the rightness or wrongness of ones behaviour. This can be explained by social psychologist, Tajfel’s Social Identity theory. It describes two groups - an in-group and an out-group. Each thrives on the validity of their values. The in-group, most usually the group that will be favoured by the state or power structure present in the society, emphasizes the invalidity of out-group and deems them as deviant.
The essence of this theory is that in every community or grouping there will exist an in-group and out-group each validating their own stance and alienating the ideas of the other group as unlawful or false. This theory can also be placed internally within their own communities where it is the young people who are most likely to be placed within an out-group as they will have different values and norms than the generation before them. Essential intervention is required or the cycle of hatred and death will continue inflicting the next generation.
Yet another young life was ended as loyalist gunmen gunned down a 20-year-old man, (post office worker) in cold blood. A scenario a lot of people thought they had left behind. Solutions are needed before other lives, most likely of our youth, come to a short abrupt end like many before them. The possibilities are endless. These young people if given the chance might find they have a lot in common with those who they are fighting on the streets with. Our politicians are emphasizing constantly that dialogue not violence is the way forward. These parties need to begin practicing what they are preaching and create dialogue among these young people who are in conflict with each other. Conflict cannot be managed if those in conflict are ignored. ‘The young people are the future’ as corny as that is, it’s very true. By bringing the young people together the potential for understanding and accepting each other is widely increased.
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