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By Graham Spencer

An exploration of forgiving and rememberingin post-conflict Northern eire, with implications for different societies rising from clash. >

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Extra info for Forgiving and Remembering in Northern Ireland: Approaches to Conflict Resolution

Sample text

In Northern Ireland in particular, the old soundbite which is still doing the rounds is that as religion is part of the problem, so it has to be part of the solution. My own understanding is that already there is a more radical reversal of fortunes than this. Philosophically the world has changed and even though we are less convinced of globalization than when we first embraced it, globalization still forms the horizon of our imagination. The popularity of travel is showing no signs of waning even if airline companies are experiencing difficulty in maintaining schedules.

When I am focused on revenge, the other person is in the centre of my head. I think about them every moment of every day and every night. My guts are in turmoil. My sleep is disturbed. My appetite may be affected and there is evidence of other physiological damage that the long-term desire for revenge may have, and of the positive effects of forgiving, (Friedberg J. P. , 2009). This is a dead-end for me and separating myself mentally from the wrongdoer is the only way out of it. Developing a degree of empathy with the wrongdoer If the previous stages of forgiving seem difficult, and they are, then this one for many seems completely impossible.

To define religion in terms of identity-giving is somewhat to let it off the hook. The denominations in Northern Ireland express and voice the tension between what it is to be a member of an international family of churches against being a local expression. Those who wish to retain, develop and expand such international links have an uphill task in the refined parochialism and specialized exclusion which defines Christianity in Northern Ireland: the Presbyterian Church’s withdrawal on various levels from World Council of Churches, British Council of Churches (now Churches Together in Britain and Reconnecting the Rhetoric and Reality of Forgiving and Remembering 49 Ireland), Irish Council of Churches; the absence of both Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church from ICC to this day, and the parallel structure of Irish Inter-Church Meeting to enable both to be involved without either being involved in ICC; the refusal of the Irish Baptist Union to be signatories of the (now archival) New English Bible; the anxiety felt in many parts of the Church of Ireland and – for quite different reasons – about its membership of the Anglican Communion over both the consecration of V.

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