Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Written Evidence


APPENDIX 20

Memorandum submitted by the Shared City Project

WE TOO HAVE SUFFERED!

12 Women . . . Separate Lives . . . Different Experiences . . . a Shared City!

Unique perspectives on life before, during and after the troubles.

  The troubles, as they are called, were the dirtiest kind of war. The dark secrecy surrounding the "combatants" on both sides rendered the survivors and innocent civilians incapable of reconciling their losses, their confusion or their grief . . .

  The natural result of the times is for people to become suspicious, distrustful, cynical—especially of anyone remotely related to "THEM" on the other side. Breaking such a cycle would require great courage and conviction that life could be better.

  These women have taken the leap. Their stories, soon to be told on video, on the web and other media will stand as an enduring example of how new, before unthought-of, friendships and a sense of complete community can be had when people are willing to take the risk and make a personal commitment to peace.

  Coming together happened to the neighbours. They the tragedy being from different sides, the stories tell of what women, their families and friends, and their share how they each coped in their own way with played out in their city, their province and their countries.

  Whether their stories make you cry or just make you think, at the least let them inspire you to commit yourself to sharing a new future in a new city . . .

  A unique initiative established by the Shared City Project the "We Too Have Suffered Project" aimed at healing the wounds experienced by women from various religious and social backgrounds living in the Deny City Council and Limavady Borough Council areas during the Troubles.

  The project is now in its second year and is funded by the Local Strategy Partnership. Under the leadership of Jeanette Warke, the project works to unite women who have suffered greatly over the past 35 years of the Troubles. The participants are women who have suffered loss directly through the troubles ie the death or injury of a relative, intimidation, destruction of property etc.

  Through group work the women have come together to share their stories and acknowledge the shared hurt and suffering of the two communities over the past thirty years of the troubles. The group are currently working on the production of a video, CD-ROM and Calendar. The project demonstrates to the wider community how they have supported, listened and built bridges together in order to continue and contribute to the ongoing peace process. The women have also set up a website, www.wetoohavesuffered.com. A copy of the home page is enclosed for your information.

  We feel this project is a positive role model for dealing with the past, whilst recognising the pain and suffering associated with it, and also aiding in the healing and reconciliation process for the benefit of future generations.





 
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