It says a lot about me that I snap to dissonance first. As last time in Armagh, and in NI, I feel this pull between a need to remember, and an instinct to move on. As we’ve been here, we’ve heard the phrase “we don’t know” a lot, mostly in relation to the Brexit decision; it’s impossible to foresee its consequences until the moment it happens, and there could be tremendous effects on NI’s funding for cross-community development, its economy, and the future of its border with the Republic.
Similarly, when Malachi O’Doherty, AP’s journalism faculty, visited our class on Wednesday, he talked about one of the very first clashes of the Troubles, which he was there to witness. He remembers how no one knew what was actually happening– who was on the offensive, who was shooting where. You can imagine (and many of us can) hearing gunshots in a city and how they echo and ricochet, and not being able to tell where they’re coming from. Now, Malachi and many journalists still struggle to build an accurate account of what happened during those decades. At the same time, families of those killed are advocating for investigations into their loved one’s death.
This morning, it’s the dissonance that resonates with me. I woke up to the news of the shooting at Dallas, where snipers shot at police officers, killing four, while peaceful protestors ran from the gunfire. The protestors were there marching against the unjust executions of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two more Black men killed by police. And I can only wait for answers about who these snipers are, what they want, and pray that they are not associated with the peaceful movements that have been trying to find justice for those killed by police. Over and over we call for investigations, and inquiries, and reports, and so rarely do we get the facts.