YR Europe: A Tight Knit Community Where "The Troubles" Began
Posted by Pendarvis Harshaw on January 16, 2009 at 10:20am
photo: Nishat Kurwa
Derry, Northern Ireland is a small town that packs a militant punch.
In the early 1600's, the seeds of its rich history were planted by the early clashings of English and Irish men. This piece of land that sits on the banks of the Foyle river played host to what would be known as "Bloody Sunday," the 30th of January, 1972.
Modern day Derry is just as militant as it was when the 17th century architecture of this small town was erected. The wall around the town's center creates a central area primarily used for tourism and shopping, while the land outside of the gates is a divided community of low income Protestants and Catholics who have historically been at one another's throats.
During an interview with the head of a local organization called Cresco Trust Ltd., which promotes youth employment and entrepreneurial opportunites, she warned that at nightfall it'd be best to stay away from the road where the headquarters of her business is located. She said there have been recent flare-ups related to the "Troubles," as they call the conflict between Catholics and Protestants, in the interface areas. Now dusk marks the hour when she and other business owners close their shops in hopes of returning in the morning to an intact building.
In one of Cresco Trust's entrepreneurial projects, low income residents and incarcerated individuals use quilting to take out their frustrations and cultivate art that is both beautiful and functional. On one gloomy Friday afternoon at the Mission Hill Quilts store, a young college grad named Jenine was selling cloth and completed quilts. Jenine said this was her way of doing something constructive in this conflicted village.