My Impression of the Troubles: Impact and Future
In my perception the Troubles still are part of the Northern Irish people’s lives. I haven’t noticed any differences between the inhabitants of Belfast or Derry.
While most of the young people I have talked to tended to say that they didn’t have experience with the Troubles and that they thought that the problems between Catholics and Protestants belong to the last century, the older people and especially “the generation in between”, the people who are between 30 and 50 years old, say that these problems still have a great impact on their lives. The media plays a role here as the problems are still a current topic in both the print and the electronic media. Most of the “in between generation” have had personal contact to “pseudo-religious racism” and the incidental violence. Often they have been victims themselves or have lost relatives or friends. There wasn’t a difference between Catholics or Protestants, all of them having suffered from the Troubles.
All in all I can say that the Irish and the Northern Irish history is still present in the heads of the people. The last 50 years have been an especially hard time for the inhabitants of Belfast and Derry (for example the omni-present Bloody Sunday that took place in Derry 33 years ago). As long as the people who have experienced the Troubles are alive they will be a part of the present as well as history.
I think that it is good to keep such things in mind and tell the younger generation of what has happened once, so that they learn for the future. And almost all people I met there believe in a peaceful future for themselves and (Northern) Ireland.