by Jill Tellez
When learning of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the story is not complete without knowing about Long Kesh, the prison (or internment camp) that was used to house paramilitary prisoners.
Our guest speaker, James Greer, gave us insight to what his experience was like living in a small cell with 85 other men. The men were held in segregation with their paramilitary factions and within no time a hierarchy was established. If you were not a trained combatant when you went in, you most certainly were when you were released. Saturday night a few of us were sitting in the Hotel Pub and began a conversation with a very nice couple sitting next to us. They asked where we were from and what we were doing in Derry. We explained that were we graduate students working on our Masters degree in Organizational Leadership and were in Derry to learn about the Peacebuilding process.
The gentlemen proudly claimed he was from the Bogside (a Nationalist Republican) and with no hesitation and a laugh, said he earned his Masters degree in Long Kesh. After watching this short film about Long Kesh which includes some powerful lyrics, along with remembering the Hunger Strikes of 1981 where 10 prisoners starved themselves to death, this learning institution is not one we'd want history to repeat itself. The people participating in the peace process have truly crossed the divide - there is much hope for peace for the people of Northern Ireland.