Papering over the cracks

There is no doubt we have a very fractured relationship with the past in this country.

It is entirely fitting that this relationship is as troubled as the past itself.

Although the past can’t be changed, many seem determined to fight old battles again in the vain hope of a new outcome.

In recent years we have seen the rise of historical revisionism in the North as various interests seek to ‘win’ the past to suit their own agenda.

This is, of course, a pointless exercise and only serves to distract attention from the present and the future.

The facts of the past stand as they are, and unpalatable and embarrassing as they may be to some, they cannot be altered.

Attempts to rewrite and airbrush history to suit the current atmosphere, or to carve out some form of manufactured legacy, may fool some people but, ultimately, it is a construct.

The recent frenzy of activity to reclaim and re-brand the past says much about the failure to responsibly deal with our troubled history.

The glib statements, selective memories and fanciful invention which have characterised these attempts recently does not offer a firm foundation from which to assess and take stock of the past and move forward.

Some people have shown tremendous readiness to accept the new version of the past, no doubt because the real ‘warts and all’ version throws up too many difficult questions and uncomfortable truths.

Until such times as people are prepared to accept all aspects of the past, however unpleasant they may be, and deal with the inevitable issues that will arise, the ancient battles will continue to be fought and re-fought.

Everything else is simply papering over the cracks, leaving the dark scars to linger underneath for another generation to sort out.