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Previous | Next :: 40 Years of The Troubles : Short Strand District Belfast : Northern Ireland | August 11, 2009, 2:19 am

40 Years of The Troubles : Short Strand District Belfast : Northern Ireland
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I was listening to the BBC world service today....... they were mentioning the fact that it is 40 year anniversary of the beginning of the so called "Troubles " in Northern Ireland. The wide spread violence is largely over now. But some elements still like to try and bring violence back to the politics and streets of Northern Ireland.

I always found Belfast and the conflict in Northern Ireland particularly depressing........ the whole basis of the conflict was basically religious bigotry........... I found myself pretty unsympathetic to thugs on either side and afraid of what they were capable of.

It was possible to shoot amazing pictures some showing the plight of ordinary people in this place riven by hatreds that seemed disgusting in a modern age. I would spend time on the Falls or the Shankhill Roads....... places iconic to the different sides in the conflict......... you could meet ordinary people that were nice enough........... but you had to wade through the bigotry and callous thuggery of the 'men of violence' on both sides.

The whole place was disfigured by disgusting acts of hatred and cowardly violence but this was particularly so in West Belfast. Even the police behaved like total thugs largely through the constant fear of the violence they faced. The first time I was ever there.... inside the first ten minutes of getting out my cameras for the first time...... to photograph ...... at an IRA funeral........ a policeman had half strangled me then smashed me in the face giving me a particularly impressive nose bleed........ he had shouted at me "You know the Rules!" just before smashing me in the face again and kicking me repeatedly when I was down. But I did not know the rules. He took my film and gave me a beating but did not explain why or even arrest me. He was content to use only violence like so many others in Northern Ireland.

Cheers Jez XXXXXX

PS......... I was in Belfast during the 20 year anniversary of the British troops being in Northern Ireland....... it was a time with scores of foreign news men and media types of all description as the troubles were at their height....... I watched this piece on You tube and saw myself 5 or 6 times....... I think you have to be an expert Jez Coulson spotter for this...... but I am most easily spotted up at the Anderson Town Sinn Fein Office (1 min 18 seconds into the film I am facing away changing fim or lens) The march stopped by the RUC ............. and then also in an area known as Beruit with numerous cars burning.......

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