taught how to calculate fractions as a child was a
matter of retrieving and storing the knowledge to
make the calculation possible. Around the classroom
many like myself were chewing on our pencils hoping
the answer would miraculously appear on the page.
When entering this difficult stage the words echoed
past us 'find the common denominator.' Usually the
discovery of the common number lead to a sigh of relief.
The common denominator enabled the adding, subtraction,
division and multiplication of numbers.
later in my life, I concluded that when learning of
human factions the same rules apply; retrieve
and store the information in an attempt to make sense
of the scenario. But numerical calculation it is not;
numbers are rigid and predetermined - humans are characteristically
neither in most cases.
dealing with a situation that occurs where people,
just like the fractions, will not come together into
a coherent whole, it is in this instance that we require
our common denominators! Unfortunately the only common
denominator that seems to prevail from a lot of conflicting
scenarios is that one faction is right and the other
reasons for incompatibility and inability to combine
into a common framework are based on the divisions
that have been created and sustained by particular
factions within each side of the multiple faced dice
that is the political landscape of the North. On each
side of the argument there emerges reasoning, based
upon nothing but predetermined notions of one's rightful
emphasis is often placed on which factions have the
right answer to our perceived constitutional, cultural
and individual questions, which eliminates what we
ultimately need to be searching for - what we have
basis of a lot of relationships, marriages, alliances
is the principle of common ground which if worked
on can be successful despite differences. Idealism
maybe even naivety leads one to believe that it is
therefore possible to work with a similar notion on
a wider scale and build a community jointly focusing
on the issues that are of concern to all.
changes in our institutional structures supposedly
to implement an ethos of equality, there remains distinct
inequalities in many working class areas in the North
of Ireland. Regardless of religious and political
affiliations or identity - education, health, and
housing inequalities compounded by the privatisation
of the said services will broadly impact on the community
at both ends of this conflict situation. Basic conflict
resolution theory would suggest a win-win situation.
But even if that were true no doubt one faction would
be condemning concessions to the other.
A mentality exists if we cant have it
no one should have it.
community as a whole needs to stop, take a breath
and look around. The thousands of premature graves
dug in this part of the country from both sides of
the divide, and those who suffered and
continue to do so are mainly those who have grown
up through deprivation, low income or no income. These
are the people who benefit least from capitalism and
its neo liberal market tendencies that we see introduced
more frequently without any opposition. Recently in
the South we have seen mobilisation of the Left on
practical issues i.e. water charges and bin taxes.
A united front against these issues may eliminate
future hardships to be faced by those who it affects
it be possible to mobilise jointly against similar
policies that impact the lives of workers and those
unemployed in our community? In areas of this country
men, women and children refuse to accept the legitimacy
of other's rights and individual preferences. They
will attack each others homes, they will intimidate
each other's children, and they will even kill. What
is it that drives a person to highlight a difference
so much that they then kill for it? That question
I personally may never know the answer to. We need
to as one community combine and focus on what unites
us not what divides us.
that represent us (supposedly) in positions of power
are going to continue to construct and implement policies
and legislation, which will favour creating monetary
gain - not focusing on whats best for the people
- the workers. While the right wing policies are being
swept through, (transparency non existent in some
cases), the remainder of us will still be hooked on
concentrating on how much we hate the Prods/Taigs
that live down the road.
may prevail that the capitalist hungry power structures
will succeed; they have facilitated to an extent the
separation of our community, segregation of our housing,
segregation of our childrens education. Lets
not forget the privatisation either.
not forget that we all ultimately share similar goals
in life. We have a lot more in common that what one
is a nice utopian picture that we can place all that
divides us to one side and continue life in brightly
painted colours. But, practically, if we can engage
on the elements of our life around us that impact
us jointly, it may be possible to build a situation
of trust where we can bridge our other divisions also.
Ultimately such divisions end lives not just impacts
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