4 August 1999 Edition
Tearing down the walls
Since 1969, 83 people from Ardoyne and 56 people from the Ligoniel and Bone areas of North Belfast have lost their lives as a result of the conflict.
What is most prominent on the minds of the people in these communities is the role the British crown forces have played in the deaths of many of these people.
The experience of the nationalist people of these areas is reflected in all nationalist areas throughout the whole of the Six Counties of Ireland occupied by the British.
In organising an event that allows the relatives of these dead to speak about their experience, the Ardoyne Fleadh organisers have done their community a great service.
The experiences of nationalists killed in this conflict have almost been written out of history. Those who have survived this trauma, made sure that their story and their courage in coming forward to tell this story in Ardoyne is an example to us all.
In the West Belfast Festival there were also events organised that allowed the relatives of people who were killed by the state to tell their story .
On Monday Springhill - The Forgotten Massacre was the focus. In St Aidan's school on the Whiterock Road, the Springhill Community opened their own inquiry into the killing of six of its members by British Paratroops. They need their own inquiry because the British will not give them one.
Then on Tuesday, there was the Tribute to Rosemary Nelson, which remembered the life, courage and commitment to justice shown by a woman of immense courage. Rosemary was regarded as the Voice of the People, it was an accolade earned and one that was truly deserved.
The event in St Mary's College was well attended by those she befriended over the years and by those she stood with throughout many a threatening experience.
Also on Tuesday, the Relatives for Justice opened their new offices on the Falls Road. On display were photographs of hundreds of nationalists killed by the state - a reminder if ever one was needed that those nationalists who were killed were not to be ignored.
Thursday sees the Damien Walsh Memorial Lecture. He was shot dead at the age of 17 by a loyalist death squad at his place of work.
By speaking out, the families of the hundreds of nationalists that have been killed by the state and its death squads are tearing down the wall of neglect and silence the state has built around them.
First map of West Belfast unveiled
A unique new map of West Belfast was unveiled at the opening of Féile an Phobail on 31 July. The map is the first to give a detailed view of West Belfast and marks sites incorporating cultural and historical aspects of the area as well as providing a guide to entertainment and leisure activities.
Experts have hailed the map as `` a touchstone for the community and a cultural fingerprint for the area''.
The project to produce the map was headed by Fáilte Feirste Thiar, which includes groups such as the West Belfast Economic Forum, the West Belfast Partnership Board and the West Belfast Festival.
Gerry Adams, who attended the launch of the map said that it would be ``invaluable'' to the growing numbers of tourists who are visiting the area.
``It covers the entire parliamentary area and is not just a guide but a work of art in itself''.
Maps are available from the Cultúrlann in West Belfast and the main tourist outlets in the city centre.