Community Relations and Education in Northern Ireland
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During part of the 1990s the peace processes in Northern Ireland, South Africa and the Middle East all seemed to be following a common trajectory although, as we know, they have achieved varying levels of success and failure. Wright (1987) provided one of the best comparative books using Northern Ireland, but sadly Wright died prematurely. In the first of the Frank Wright Memorial lectures in Queen’s University Belfast, Guelke examined the processes in each context and identified a key turning point when a hitherto stable situation appeared amenable to change. In South Africa the turning point came with the 1976 uprising of school students in Soweto and the killing of Hector Petersen by South African security forces. Following these events many young people fled South Africa to enter the camps of Umkhonto We Sizwe, while within South Africa a new internal opposition movement started to form. In the Middle East it was an accident in the Gaza Strip when an Israeli truck crashed into a car of Palestinian labourers, killing four and injuring the others. This was to light a spark that led to the Intifada. And Guelke pointed also to a key turning point in Northern Ireland in October 1968 when a Civil Rights march in Derry (or Londonderry) was banned by the Unionist government and attacked by the police in full view of television cameras. Given the level of violence which Northern Ireland has experienced since 1968, the events then seem extraordinarily restrained in hindsight. But at the time they had an enormous impact on perceptions.
KeywordsCommunity Relation Gaza Strip Catholic School Peace Process Integrate School
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