Author Topic: Growing up in Belfast: ‘I saw British soldiers holding guns every day'  (Read 1779 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Growing up in Belfast: ‘I saw British soldiers holding guns every day, so I must have copied them’

I lived on Beechmount Avenue, off the Falls Road; it was known locally as RPG Ave after the rocket-propelled grenade launcher often fired from there. I’m standing outside our terraced house. My mum had me so spick and span – you can see my shirt, my hair, and the creases in my trousers. 1981 was a tragic year in Irish history at the hands of the Margaret Thatcher government, so tensions in our area were high. We had very negative feelings towards the army, as you can see from my expression. On the day this picture was taken, my father recollects that there was a hive of activity with a lot of the windows in the street smashed by British army plastic baton rounds. You can see the state of the streets with glass and debris everywhere. We all knew people who had lost their lives. When I was 15, in December 1993, a boy from my football team, Brian Duffy, was shot dead. It was sad, and we all went to the funeral. I felt real hatred toward those who did it – but it felt slightly normal, too. Life went on.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon