This Saint Patrick’s Day, I’m thinking of Ireland. I was there in 2015 with the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland. During the trip, we spent a day in Derry, Northern Ireland (pictured). This was one of many landmarks of the struggle and violence marking the modern history of this otherwise beautiful island. During that civil rights struggle, the British kept guns aimed downward at this place from their fortified high ground. I shook hands with a man whose brother was killed on Bloody Sunday 1972. Just to the right of this picture.
But today after years of effort, Ireland is at peace. Around this spot people have painted expressions of remembrance and transcendence across the walls. A bright diversity of color where there was once colorless oppression. Collective creativity depictong hope where before there was mindless “us” verses “them”.
How are we in the US? Our divide seems to be deepening over religion, race, politics. To what end? Today I salute peace, and I drink to the good health of our country. Sláinte.