If we ignite a conflict between the past and the present, we will lose the future.” The part of the United Kingdom represents a powder keg that can explode at any moment.
The city of Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, was filled with fumes from burning tires ignited by young protesters and gases released by the police.
These riots are due to two main factors, the first of which is the anger of the trade union wing at the outputs of Brexit, and the setting up of naval checkpoints between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the second refusal to pursue a number of the Republican “Sinn Fein” party after their participation in the funeral of a member of the Irish Republican Army and their violation of social distancing rules. .
These reasons reveal that feuds are still strongly present between Republicans and Unionists, and they only need a catalyst to resurface, threatening to strike the Great Friday Agreement that established peace on the Irish island 3 decades ago, after a bloody conflict that killed 3,500 people.
A quick tour at the crossroads between the neighborhoods of the pro-British unitary provinces and the pro-union republic with the Republic of Ireland is sufficient to understand the size of the abysmal gap between the two parties, and how each part of the island has its own narrative of history. Unionists have always had their fate and history under the shadow of the British throne. Pictures of the royal family and the flags of the kingdom in window balconies.
As for the Republicans, they insist on raising the flag of Northern Ireland, considering that this area is an occupied part of the Irish Free Territory, and it is no wonder then that the recent riots that led to the injury of about 90 policemen were concentrated in this highly sensitive region.
In addition, there is the difference factor in the doctrines. While most of the inhabitants of Northern Ireland espouse the Protestant sect, which is the Kingdom’s doctrine endorsed by Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, others adhere to the Catholic doctrine in the Republic of Ireland.
As for the walls of peace separating the two parties, which remained open for decades after the establishment of peace, they are closing again after the riots, in an indication of the gravity of the situation that is rapidly rolling into the unknown. Advertising
Caution appears on the doors and windows of some republican neighborhoods near the peace walls, where mounds are placed to protect them from stones and projectiles, with expressive and poignant slogans such as “Peace for our children”, “We do not want blood to return.”
And if it was a wind that blew into the ashes of Irish tension, then it is undoubtedly the winds of British separation from the European Union, which revived many silent crises, and turned the maritime border file into a serious obstacle to the agreement between London and the European Union, and almost led to the collapse of negotiations between the two parties more From once.
The reason for the disagreement is that Brexit means setting solid borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, so that the republic remains subordinate to the European Union, were it not that this situation contradicts the contents of the Great Peace Agreement that prohibits the existence of any borders between the two sides, so what was only the invention of the issue of maritime borders.
The agreement between the European Union and Britain provides for the imposition of controls in the ports of Northern Ireland, according to a text called the “Northern Irish Protocol”, and it faces strong opposition from the unionists who see this special protocol as a border setting between Northern Ireland and Britain.
Residents of Northern Ireland do not hide their disappointment with this situation, describing it as betrayal, and a stab in the back directed at them by London, and they do not miss an opportunity to show loyalty and belonging to the British Crown, on the other hand there are those who see it as a European “conspiracy” to insult the citizens of Northern Ireland and separate them from their British origins. .
Unity and separation
In such situations where conflicts and competition prevail, numbers and data are always used, hoping that they provide a clearer picture of the situation, and it appears from official statistics that the situation in Northern Ireland is good compared to the rest of the United Kingdom, as it records the lowest unemployment rate in the whole country throughout the country. 4 years.
Tourism activity recorded its greatest development in the year 2019 before the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, and it also records the best rates in the quality of life and per capita income, according to the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is the only region in the United Kingdom where the rate of low-income people is less than 10%, as well as The number of children living in poverty has decreased in the past five years, unlike what is happening in the rest of the UK.
All are factors that make the population of Northern Ireland cling to the United Kingdom, compared to the Republic of Ireland, which is expected to face increasing economic troubles after Brexit and the Corona epidemic.
Since the launch of the Brexit series, the specter of secession has threatened the United Kingdom, sometimes in Scotland and sometimes in Ireland, and the latest opinion poll conducted by the BBC shows that 49% of Northern Ireland residents support staying with the United Kingdom in the next 10 years, in While 43% support unity with the Republic of Ireland, and there are 8% of them, they are still hesitant.
This situation may differ after a quarter of a century, and this is what the poll reveals, as 51% of Northern Ireland residents confirmed that they would vote to secede from the United Kingdom 25 years from now, and this means that the future will be more complex on this island.