“Terror Tourist”
Unfortunately I had to leave the excursion after half of the time. For this reason I can only relate about my experiences with the troubles between Catholics and Protestants in Belfast. I heard that the conflict in Derry/Londonderry was rather more evident and depressing than in the capital of Northern Ireland. So it could be that my impressions are probably not as strong as those of the others.
In my opinion people who aren’t native to Northern Ireland don’t realize the tense situation there when they are on a visit to Belfast. Of course, you can take a bus or black cab tour and see the murials and the peace line. After that you will know many things about the Troubles and perhaps you will be shocked by all these terrible facts. But actually in my opinion tourists cannot imagine the significance and range of this fight between the two religions because they didn’t grow up with it.
When I was in Belfast I didn’t notice much tension among the residents of the city. Without having an uneasy feeling (most of the time) I liked to be there and explore the foreign culture. The problem was that sometimes I felt a little bit like a terror tourist. Especially on the bus tour I felt uneasy because everybody hopped off the bus to take pictures of the “murials”, whereas some Protestants were sitting in the pub on the other side of the street watching us. In this connection you have to realize that for those people the troubles are the terrible reality. That was a very strange situation for me although I am aware of the fact that it is important to see what’s going on in Northern Ireland and to realize that such a cruel absurd conflict can oddly enough exist nowadays. Very interesting I found the interviews with native people which opened my eyes in view of the troubles. When I heard their opinions and their fates I was really shocked because before I couldn’t really believe that such a cruel religious war can take place that close to my peaceful world.

Andrea Eckhoff-Rosenbaum

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