The Belfast you see on the news at the minute; the snarling beast, the whirling dervish, the teenager in a strop, is not the Belfast that I know. I don’t recognise this overtired child and I’m trying very hard to remember, (as all good teachers do) “that you are not your behaviour.” Underneath it all, there is a very good hearted, positive being struggling to get out.
The Belfast I know is filled with forward thinking individuals who are creative and passionate about making the place an excellent area to exist in. They create music, art and poetry. They demonstrate against the injustices of the world, both at home and abroad. They rally against racism, sectarianism, tax cuts and job losses. They drink and celebrate each weekend. They support each other when the dreaded Monday morning arrives. Their minds aren’t filled with symbolism or triumphalism; their minds are occupied with thoughts of community and collectivism. They are the first to laugh at the idiosyncrasies of our nation and the ones to get into a discussion about the awkward pickle that we’re in – being a portion of a little island, with a foot in each land, trying to find balance in the shifting winds. But they recognise, this is a puzzle to be worked at, like the crossword, sucking on a pencil, not lifting a rock to riot with.
This is the Belfast I know. One that is much better than you will ever imagine. One that is filled with hope and strength and courage. This is the Belfast I wish you could know too. Not the one rotten berry spoiling the whole batch.
This is the Belfast who stands and makes a racket for peace. With drums, hands, voices, hearts all beating loudly. No emblems, no flags just a desire to be recognised. To have their annoyance and frustration registered.
There’ve been many questions about the purpose of the rally that took place on Sunday. Some called it useless, some called it abstract pacifism but I for one think that a positive ‘something’ is always better than the negative void of doing nothing. The Belfast that I know does not do ‘nothing’. They become yin trying to balance the yang of rioting and dogma. They do not need defined or justified by a scrap of fabric. They know in their hearts who they really are. No one can take that away. There are no days in which they will not be able to fly. They are beyond all that.
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