1968 was not just about NI civil rights

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Northern Ireland wasn’t the only trouble-spot in 1968.

A forthcoming course in Queen’s University’s Open Learning programme revisits the turbulent events of 1968, when the world appeared to be, in the words of the contemporary song, ‘on the eve of destruction’.

My course, ‘The Eve of Destruction? The World in 1968’, looks at the events that captured headlines during those 12 dramatic months – from the Tet offensive in Vietnam and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in America, to the Prague Spring and Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech – and attempts analysis and explanation of what was happening.

It was an American presidential election year, in which Colonel Sanders of KFC fame was to make a surprise appearance; an Olympic year in which the games themselves were overshadowed by Black Power protests; and the year in which Apollo 8 made the first manned spaceflight around the moon.

Perhaps only the words of civil rights leader Martin Luther King could make sense of everything that was happening that year: “No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”

‘The Eve of Destruction? The World in 1968’ commences at Queen’s University Belfast on Wednesday, September 26, from 7pm to 9pm, for 10 weeks. To enrol, contact the Open Learning Programme, Queen’s University Belfast, by ringing (028 )90973323 or emailing openlearning.education@qub.ac.uk

Ronnie Hanna, Open University