(photo by Mike Fritz)
Because the terminology is a wee bit confusing at first, I will explain/define a few terms to the best of my knowledge.
- Republican and Loyalist are terms used exclusively in the context of paramilitary groups, who were active during the years of the Troubles. Most of these paramilitary organizations decommisioned after the peace aggreement was signed in 1998 (Good Friday Agreement), but some only recently handed over their arms -- even within the past year. Bascially, you only use Republican/Loyalist in relation to those who support armed struggle as a means to their end.
- Nationalist and Unionist are related to political agendas/persuasions. Nationalists tend to support the complete independence of the state of Ireland from the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland), while Unionists want N. Ireland to remain a part of the UK and separate from the Republic of Ireland.
Hmm...I set out to describe the past two days in Belfast and managed only to cover approximately 3 hours. Thus, I will be posting frequently over the weekend to update you more... Expect many more photos!