Next year Derry~London Derry will become the first UK City of Culture. Inspired by Liverpool’s tenure as the European holder of the title, the Northern Irish city will celebrate a year of local culture, as well as holding some of the UK’s most prestigious cultural events and awards.
The meeting and handshake between the Queen and Martin McGuinness is the most important act of healing and reconciliation achieved so far in Northern Ireland. McGuinness was one of the leaders of the Provisional IRA, which killed more than 2,000 people during the conflict. That one of those victims was the Queen’s cousin, Lord Mountbatten, gives the handshake particular poignancy.
A great deal has been written about the waves of protest and revolution in parts of the Middle East; much of it uses the powerful tool of analogy to shed light on the situation and to open up the debate. Is the ‘Arab Spring’ analogous to Prague 1968, Tehran 1979, Berlin 1989 or even Paris 1789? No one can agree but it is certainly fuelling café conversation all over the region. The reference to historical comparisons and more importantly the ensuing debate is helping to make sense of what is happening here in the Middle East, even if it can’t give easy answers.
1984: The title of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, featured in the lyrics of The Arctic Monkey’s hit I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, and perhaps most significantly of all (for my mum anyway), the year that I was born. But from a topical point of view, it was the year that the Home International tournament was killed off.
Just when Northern Ireland thought they had done enough to be taken seriously on the international stage…
Steven Davis’ corner kick aside, an excellent draw for Nigel Worthington’s team against the mighty Italians.
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