Still “No Surrender”
When I decided to take part in our excursion, I was a bit worried because of the troubles in Northern Ireland (you somehow immediately imagine bomb attacks). However, I was convinced that the troubles are a chapter of the past and now the country is peaceful and starting to work things out between the two parties. Of course when we arrived in Northern Ireland, I did not find any hints at the troubles at first sight. The cities Belfast and Derry seemed very peaceful and life seemed “normal” like in any other city in Europe. In addition I really liked the atmosphere in those cities and enjoyed living there for some time.
Therefore I was a bit disappointed when I slowly realised that the troubles are still existent, if one takes a closer look at the whole situation. I was even shocked about how fanatic both parties still seem to be and especially how separated the different parts of town were. And if one reads signs like “no surrender” and “you are now entering free Derry” and sees small children send by their parents to put up flags or paint the sidewalks, one doubts that the two sides will approach each other for the next at least two generations. Furthermore, one also had the impression that there is some kind of “mafia” you have to pay to live safe in Belfast.
All those things really shocked me and made me reflect upon the troubles. However, I still liked the country and its people and was sometimes wondering how such nice people can be so fanatic and stubborn. On the other hand I can understand that the Catholics who do not want to belong to Great Britain are upset about the current situation and would like to have it changed.

Britta Laufer

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