Katie Conlon (Palestine)

Katie is a student in the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, pursuing a BA in History and a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture. She first became interested in issues of transitional justice in 2013 after a week-long study abroad to Northern Ireland. She spent the summer of 2014 conducting research in Cambodia about the experience of the Cham Muslim minority in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. She has studied Arabic for two years and focuses her studies on issues of gender and law in the Middle East. After the fellowship, she wrote: "The fellowship has definitely reinforced and changed my ability to adapt to new environments and given me a better idea about the kind of work environment I want to work in when I graduate." Contact: kconlon@advocacynet.org



Our Day Will Come: Thinking about Solidarity in Belfast

18 Jun

“Our day will come.” 

These were the words that greeted me the first time I stood in front of the International Wall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This wall houses murals depicting various conflicts and injustices worldwide.

This was the mural on the International Wall in Belfast during my first visit.

This was the mural on the International Wall in Belfast depicting Palestinian solidarity during my first visit.

The conflict in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles” has many parallels to the conflict in Palestine. The International Wall in particular highlights the ways in which the experiences of people in Northern Ireland are similar to other conflicts.

My first trip to Belfast was also the first time I really heard about Palestine outside of the context of western media. It is fitting that I had the chance to visit Belfast again before starting my work as a Peace Fellow with The Palestinian House of Friendship.

PHF provides programs for children and youth who have been negatively impacted by the ongoing Israeli military occupation, the increase in poverty, and the growing instability in Nablus.

My detour in Belfast was in part a way for me to ease myself into the idea of calling Palestine home for the next three months. I sat in familiar pubs and talked with familiar people about challenges I know I will face this summer.

There are still walls that separates communities in Belfast. There are still people for whom checkpoints, walls, and occupation feel more normal than peace. There are many reasons that the Irish in Northern Ireland feel solidarity with Palestinians.

"Where is the world?" This was the message on the International Wall during my latest visit to Belfast.

“Where is the world?” This was the message on the International Wall during my latest visit to Belfast.

But there are also many differences between these two people and places. They have different histories and different contemporary circumstances. But despite these differences, the message that was written on that wall two years ago resonates with many of them and with me.

In Irish, “our day will come” is “tiocfaidh ár lá.” In Arabic, it’s “yeomna qadm.” Whatever language, the sentiment is the same.

Going into this summer in Palestine, I have many goals and many worries. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the PHF, and I hope to keep the lessons I’ve learned in Belfast in mind.

Posted By Katie Conlon (Palestine)

Posted Jun 18th, 2015

299 Comments

  • Ray Conlon

    June 22, 2015

     

    although I do not share many of my daughter’s world views, I am extremely proud of her resolve and determination to make a difference. As for me, I will keep the home fires burning patiently awaiting your safe return. I love you Cake.

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