AS our peace and political process advances and perceived partnerships emerge transcending political and religious boundaries, sizeable numbers of Northern Ireland’s community are willing contributors, others consent through their apathy but there is one group of people who seem hell-bent on reminding us all of our divisions – the victims, of course.
This is a view held throughout Northern Ireland and while morally bankrupt and devoid of any semblance of logic, is increasingly the prevailing view.
Why in 2012, 18 years on from the first ceasefires, do victims still seek recourse for events which our modern generation of young people have absolutely no concept of whatsoever – aren’t victims just dragging people back to unhappier times?
As someone who is privileged to have a position of being able to support the innocent victims of terrorism, I make the case that society should care about these individuals, their welfare and the families that have still to be raised.
A strategy undoubtedly exists within elements of government that, if we can see out the next seven to 10 years, then the vast majority of direct victims – mothers and fathers, spouses/partners of those murdered will in effect have died out themselves.
People need to remind themselves of the facts of Northern Ireland – not the manufactured propaganda of those who waged the violence or those elements in government happy to now sponsor those ‘lies’ for the purpose of keeping a peace and political settlement still on track. Dozens lost their lives through concerted campaigns to ‘ethnically cleanse’ border areas of those perceived to represent the Protestant/pro-British community.
The individuals who donned uniforms in those areas weren’t doing so for themselves, they were doing so for you and for me.
They gave their lives so that you could freely shop without the fear of bomb explosions or constant alerts, they did so in order to give your children and grandchildren the opportunities in life that they and their families were denied.
Those Protestant communities who reside in border areas are typically God-fearing people. Despite coming under sustained campaigns of violence, these individuals did not turn to the bomb or the bullet, they put their trust and confidence in the lawful organs of both the UK and Republic of Ireland states and they believed that both governments would do right by them.
Today that obligation remains. Let no one forget that when someone is murdered through terrorism the trauma inflicted upon a family and community is immense but, further to that, when attempts are made to justify those actions and a state is prepared to almost ‘sponsor’ that policy of rewriting history, innocent victims won’t stay quiet.
If that is the price for peace and “so-called political stability” then it is a price not worth paying.
Kenny Donaldson is director of services for the South East Fermanagh Foundation