HTR holds its first public Day of Reflection event
21 June 2011 was the fifth year for the annual Day of Reflection organised by HTR, the cross-community organisation that focuses on ways of dealing with the past relating to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland, with the aim of ensuring a peaceful future for all. It is a day to acknowledge the deep hurt and pain caused by the conflict and to reflect on our own attitudes, on what more we might have done or might still do, and to make a personal commitment that such loss should never be allowed to happen again.
The Day was launched in the Linen Hall Library in the centre of Belfast by the Rev Harold Good, chair of HTR’s Day of Reflection Sub Group. While activities took place in several other locations as well, the event at the Linen Hall Library was the first-ever HTR sponsored public event. which had music from singer/songwriter Gerry Creen on the hour and half-hour. Throughout the event there were poetry readings and extracts from novels read by Damian Gorman, Dawn Purvis, Hugh Odling-Smee, Edgar Turner, Glenn Patterson, Kate Turner, Vincent Higgins and Paula McFetridge, with support from writers Dave Duggan and Seamus Heaney, and Tyrone GAA coach Mickey Harte.
A visual exhibition included photos of the conflict by photojournalists Kevin Cooper and John Rush and artwork from the South Armagh Rural Women’s Network’s “Behind the Masks” project. These comprised masks which were created by each woman representing their individual story of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. Participants at the event were also invited to write their own thoughts and reflections and post them onto a special Thought Wall which became the flowers of the HTR gorse bush logo.
The Rev Harold Good said: “Independent evaluations have shown support across the community for the Day of Reflection from organisations including community groups, churches and businesses, and a wide range of individual people.
“It is vital that we always remember the men, women and children who, on a daily basis, live with the consequences of the conflict It is the responsibility of every person in society to find a way forward and create a better future for generations to come.
“The Day is a society-wide initiative, but some people may want to reflect on their own, while others may decide to do so within a family, a group or an organisation. Groups can be involved by raising awareness among their members, by making a place available where reflection can take place and/or by facilitating reflection.”
HTR director Kate Turner said: “The Day of Reflection has gathered momentum since we launched it in 2007 and it is now an established annual event. This time we have received several messages of support from countries throughout the world. As well as reflecting on the Northern Ireland conflict, people from Zimbabwe, the Balkans and the Middle East who now live here also use the Day to reflect on troubled times in their homelands.”