What new thing has happened in Northern Ireland? The peace agreement reached on Good Friday 1998 has begun to be implemented. A power-sharing Assembly has been established in which, for the first time, representatives of all political persuasions have agreed to participate. The two main governments did their parts.
Church leaders in Ireland have welcomed an agreement concluded between the two largest political parties in Northern Ireland, which will see the completion of a process of devolving power from the British government.
The first feature-length film by video installation artist Steve McQueen (no relation to the late actor) presents a detailed and disturbing look at conditions inside Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison in 1981. Angry members of the Irish Republican Army were jailed—some for relatively minor offenses—denied political-prisoner status and subjected to regular beatings by British guards.
There is a saying, “The English never remember, the Irish never forget.” The more sober truth is that everyone remembers and forgets selectively. Therein is a political problem that is well illustrated in Northern Ireland these days.
Desmond Tutu makes headlines, and often changes hearts and minds. In the fall of 2005, the headlines were made in Belfast, where Tutu, former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, was filming Facing the Truth, three programs for the Northern Irish BBC that aired in Britain on three consecutive days in March of this year.
Sectarian attacks in Northern Ireland were showing no sign of abating by the end of August, despite a recent declaration by the Irish Republican Army that it will lay down its arms, according to both Catholic and Protestant communities reporting attacks.