Monday, September 01, 2008

Belfast and America

Here's one of the funnier and more telling takes on the United States, as telling about its author as about its subject. It's from The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien:

"`He has no personal name at all. His dadda is in far Amurikey.'

"`Which of the two Amurikeys?' asked MacCruiskeen.

"`The United Stations,' said the Sergeant.

"`Likely he is rich by now if he is in that quarter,' said MacCruiskeen, `because there's dollars there, dollars and bucks and nuggets in the ground and any amount of rackets and golf games and musical instruments. It is a free country too by all accounts.'"
O'Brien left out a few details, but other than that, he's got America down, I'd say.

So much for an Irishman on America. Now for a North American on Ireland, and that North American is me.

The world has heard much of Belfast from the 1970s on, but one rarely heard what a stunning setting the city has. From my guesthouse, I can see Cave Hill and its companions of the Lagan Valley.

It was a pleasant shock to be able to see such natural beauty looking down my own street. It was a jarring and an emotional experience to see those same verdant hills up the Shankill Road and the Falls Road, and to think of the violence and rage that divided those streets during the Troubles. I wonder if residents of those passionate and benighted streets ever paused to contemplate those green hills during the years of violence and perhaps to take a moment of solace from them, perhaps even to be shamed out of committing a violent act.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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4 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter,

Of course we appreciated the Cave Hill and the Knockagh. Thats were we all used to go glue sniffing.

September 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, not here two full days yet, and one illusion shattered already.

September 02, 2008  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Do you think you can make the Crown Bar? I'll look for you in the webcam.

A...

September 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I am right above the Great Victoria Street at the moment, and I plan to have dinner and a pint at the Crown this evening -- within an hour, most likely. Glad I brushed my hair today now that I know I'll be on view to the world.

September 02, 2008  

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