Thirty years ago, my country was classed as war-torn. Soldiers marched the streets, bombs exploded, and people lived in fear. You could be pulled from a busy street and shot for being the wrong religion. Schools were targeted and places of worship were blown up. But I didn’t grow up in Syria or Iraq. It was Northern Ireland. Within the last thirty years, the entire country has done a u-turn and is finally at peace with itself. Today anyone can walk the streets freely, without fearing for their safety. We hosted the MTV awards, pop stars make music videos in our fields, and it provides the back drop for “Game of Thrones” TV series. Now it is the place to be. Religious extremism was the back bone of Northern Irish society, making it no different from other countries like Iraq or any other nation where religion is the excuse for killing.
The big question is “how did peace happen?”
It could be said that politics had a large part to play in the peace process. I could say that, but I would be lying. I believe that if the politicians had it their way, we would still be blowing each other up. I don’t think my belief is unfounded. Gerry Adams of Sein Finn political party takes his wage from the government and yet refuses to sit in Parliament to represent the very people that elected him. And so many more are just power hungry, joining in the fun as if war is just a game. So how did such backwards politics lead to peace? They didn’t, it was the women.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, women’s attitudes shifted. They became empowered with choices and a feminist revolution swept through the streets of the country. Women were no longer prepared to risk losing husbands and sons over religious bullshit. They chose to educate their families about the value of life, and the gift of love. That may sound the complete opposite of feminism but isn’t that what it is about? The power to choose? These brave women chose to set men in the right direction for peace. It was these actions that gave men the strength to say, “Enough is enough”. It was then in the 1990’s that the Peace Process in Northern Ireland took hold. More equality for all religions (and women) began to filter through society. From there, Northern Ireland has came on leaps and bounds, defining itself as a nation with its own unique culture. The country is held as a landmark for peace and many world leaders want to copy what was done here to bring about world peace. There may still be religious differences but it is the Northern Irish culture which binds us together, allowing us to live in peace.
All throughout history there has been tales of powerful women who refused to allow war and fear to rule their lives. From these women, the icons of ages past, the present day woman has emerged. Modern woman has bloomed and taken charge, not afraid to speak her mind. Today they are called bitches. But these bitches are responsible for peace in my country. This leads me to my final point. If the world is to know true peace, the women of the world must unite and become strong. There must be a new feminism revolution in order to educate women that they have a choice. They can choose peace, they can choose to raise their families in a way that future generations will unite and live in unity with each other.