Monday, 14 March 2016

The 'Irish Car Bomb': This St. Patrick's Day, Let's Change the Name!

In the run-up to the Feast of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all starting to think about heading out on the great day for some fun. Lots of things come to mind: parties, parades, some Irish trad music and dance, drinks… or a mixture of all of those!

There’s one drink in particular that I’m thinking about, a heady mixture of Irish stout, Irish crème, and Irish whiskey. It’s known variously as ‘Irish Car Bomb’, a ‘Belfast Car Bomb’, and other local variations.

The name’s a bit of fun for a powerful beverage, right?

Actually, I’m not so sure.

The 30 years of civil conflict in Ireland and Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998 killed thousands, injured tens of thousands… and car bombs were a bloody part of that brutal history.

And it didn’t end in 1998; the most recent car bomb explosion was this week, killing a prison officer.

Wherever you stand, it’s no joke.

I don’t want to ban the drink;

I want to change the name.

I want to call it an ‘Irish Peace Process’.

I’m an Irish/American dual citizen, a theologian, teacher, and post-conflict expert. 

I lived and worked for 13 years in Belfast on various projects focused on peacemaking, reconciliation, and social justice, helping to draw the conflict to a close and help to build a vision of a shared future.

The men and women I’ve worked with over the years who made the peace process happen- working with community groups, in churches, in schools, with politicians, police, perpetrators, and victims- are some of the most unstoppable and indomitable people I know.

Their days were- and are- difficult, exhausting, painful, joyful, and hopeful…

They deserve the admiration and gratitude of Irish people, at home and abroad.

They deserve a drink.

So this St. Paddy’s Day, in their honour, don’t order an ‘Irish Car Bomb’;

Order an ‘Irish Peace Process’.

Tell your barkeeper that you want to Change the Name!


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