Wednesday, June 09, 2010

It's been a while........

..... since I posted anything on here. In a sense I'm almost reluctant to do so now, however, I need to regain the habit of undertaking thoughtful writing (yes believe it or not I have put some thought into it).

I guess what has really prompted me to write was reading a story about how the rural communities of Cumbria have coped in the wake of the atrocious shootings that took place last week. In it a local GP said this 'we're not Northern Ireland, we're not Moss Side, we're not used to dealing with major trauma and yet we have to deal with a gunshot wound'.

Now please don't misunderstand me I am not diminishing in anyway the trauma that he and others have faced in anyway. I am not really picking on his words, words that were no doubt spoken in the middle of crisis. However, they do highlight the general perception that because a community deals with trauma on a regular basis they are somehow better equipped to deal with it.

I had the privilege of spending a couple of years working with the communities of Moss Side. It allowed me an opportunity to talk with them, journey alongside them and gain a small insight into the feelings of that community. It is a community who are desperately proud, a close community, a community where neighbours still talk to one another and develop friendships. In many ways if you forget the the post industrial landscape in which Moss Side sits you can see many similarities between here and how we are led to believe the communities in Cumbria relate to one another.

The problem is, as the GP in Cumbria points out, at times of tragedy everybody hurts. When a young man or woman is shot on the street, people know them, they have friends, neighbours and family near by. The community grieves, they are no more equipped to deal with it just because it happens more often. They still have to wait for ambulances (at least 30 minutes because ambulances need to be taken in by armed police) they still long for it to be different.

However, it is out of their experience they can help the community of Cumbria. For the people of Moss Side refuse to allow the young men with the guns be the only ones allowed to tell the story. They live everyday to retell the story of a different kind of community. A community which has at its heart the principles of love and concern for one another. They are people who stand side by side, who try to teach their children, their future generations that only when we set to one side the ways of violence and hatred will we truly grow and flourish.

Cope? No they don't cope any better, they have however, learned how violence and tragedy will never be allowed the final say.

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