Monday, May 6, 2013

Bridge Across the Divide

Again, I have been horrible at blogging over these past few weeks, but I’m sure you can understand that the end of the semester is always a whirlwind. Especially when you are writing a 45-page paper in one week!

After spending three weeks in Derry~Londonderry, and one week in Dublin to write, I have officially completed my Independent Study Project. As I said in my last post, I researched the Peace Bridge in Derry~Londonderry. I was skeptical of the bridge at first because it has been advertised as a physical facilitator of peace within the city. I didn’t believe that a bridge could unite a city divided by decades of political turmoil. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bridge has indeed helped to increase interactions between members of both groups within the city.

Peace Bridge

I’ll leave you with a small excerpt from my conclusion:

With the weight of history and memory upon the city that has lasted for generations, it may be difficult to understand how a bridge could help a community overcome an inherited historical memory. The success of the Peace Bridge in overcoming the hindrance of history rests with the creation of a new historical narrative for the city and the introduction of shared space. The new bridge is free of the symbols that so often mark the territory of one group or another throughout the city. The bridge also connects the city center to Ebrington Barracks, a space that had been closed to the public previously. The story of Ebrington as a base for the British Army during the Troubles is quickly fading as the lost history of Ebrington’s role during World War I and World War II, reemerges; this is a history that the city as a whole can share and embrace together.  Because of the creation of this new historical narrative, the city of Derry~Londonderry has been able to redefine its identity and project a message of a forward progress that acknowledges a fresh start. At the center of this new identity is the Peace Bridge and its symbolic bridging between not only two groups, but also the past and the present.

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