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The invisible border


A warning that today's episode features some graphic descriptions of violence near the top. And the bottom of this first half. There's no violence after the break. If you WANNA avoid it altogether let's begin Tonight believe it or not the United Kingdom them will officially leave the European Union. It happens at eleven o'clock London time. Brexit is happening. We have covered brexit backwards and forwards. On today explained we've talked about trade and immigration an ideology and it's all been sort of abstract very political but on the show today our reporter Naughton Hassenfeld is going to take us to a place where you can actually see what brexit might do with your own eyes. Yeah and In the interest of minimizing my carbon footprint. I got someone closer to go for me. My Name Is Leona O. Natal and Emma journalist from Northern Ireland Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom Ingram but it shares a border with the independent country of Ireland to the south. I am on the border between Northern Ireland and southern Ireland is just decide dairy. It's a very very very busy. Ruled of pulled to the side of the road here. there's literally hundreds of cars going up ongoing. Pass me here right now. Since both the United Kingdom and Ireland are in the European Union. That border is barely noticeable but after tonight while the country of Ireland will still be in the EU things. Start to get complicated at the border brags that has posed particularly difficult and genetic problem for US rex. It could bring checkpoints police the military. But that's nothing new for this border. When you say the border the Northern Irish border people think They Hark back to those days when the refused military reinstallation where the British army would be their you know their checkpoints and stuff I got there is nothing like that night at the moment as something. That's kind of forgotten a bite white almost as an invisible border when I was growing up Here beside the border you know you had approaches the border huge military installations you know corrugated iron wolves heavily-fortified full of soldiers armed soldiers. So sometimes your car will be pulled on. Everybody would be taken out of the car. The car would be searched for guns and ammunition and all that kind of stuff these military installations were shot at. They were bombed armed. You're always taking your life in your hands stopping them. When you re possums particularly with children on the car it was quite a terrifying experience this peaceful spot where Leona is sitting right now? Thirty years ago it was a living nightmare and nineteen ninety. Patsy Glaspie was a a young father the IRA the Irish. Republican Army were targetting particle because he worked in a British Army station in here and there. They held his wife and his children hostage Told Patsy to get on his van driver to the British Army station here the checkpoint appoint on on this that. He doesn't do that that they would should has wife and his children. This is patsies wife Kathleen you. He was chained to the driver's seat. And the steering wheel of that at is loaded with twelve hundred pounds of explosives and he was made to Dr Divide to the army checkpoint. Kosh Quan had tamed to shut a warning and I was told by one of the soldiers. TATION faith that they had run boys. I'm loaded run and a bomb was detonated by remote control control and PAT. Sue was blown to pieces. What five soldiers? Patsy was actually identified Santa Fe by a pace of Grey's zip attached tip piece of the woollen Cardigan under better flesh to this day. Kathleen Remembers Patsy on the border. I'm sitting here actually across the road from the memorial parts. Kathleen leaves floors. I can see them sitting here socialist flyers every every week there for her patsy Brexit. Isn't it just bringing these memories back. It actually might disrupt this hard-fought piece I know from speaking to desert and Republicans in the past that should anti structure go up on the border. Anna can of even a sign that says this is the border they will blow it up anyone who puts the life of a customs officer at risk. They will need police protection. The a police are them become a target as well as a customs officer after our tax on them the army might be brought back to protect the police. Protect the customs officer. And then we're back in the nineteen and seventies nineteen eighties Northern Ireland. We have a very delicate peace hero. Northern Ireland anything could just put it over the edge. Peace in Northern Ireland isn't just delicate it took decades of civilian uprisings military crackdowns and brutal terrorist campaigns to reach this point. Thousands of people died in the process and the peace deal that created. This invisible. Border was an almost impossible. Balancing Act Ireland was part of the British Empire Open till the beginning of the twentieth century. And this was not a situation Asian which was desired by the majority of people in Ireland. Susan McKay is an author and journalist from Londonderry in Northern Ireland people. They're often call it. Dairy there was a smaller. All are Protestant minority concentrated in the northeast of Ireland which did not want to be part of a United Ireland so in nineteen twenty one. Ireland was partitioned mission. South was independent. While the north remained part of the United Kingdom a border was purged across the country and it's an extraordinary border zigzags all over the place that cuts off one county donegal practically from the rest of the Republic of Ireland divides villages divides hoses is. It divides people's farms. This has been denied a small rather old fashioned town and county turtle on one of the six northeastern counties of Ireland which are handled underbidding rule the situation the north. was that the unionists. who were those who were loyal to Britain? Set up the northern station. Such a way that outs Catholics and nationalists could really have no par Kuh third. The people of this little town are nationally. That is to say they are in favor of unity with the rest of Ireland and against being part of one third is unionist which means favouring rule and the partition of Ireland. But the tone is controlled control by that unionist minority and run shortly in there. So the upshot of this gerrymandering is that was called was that the Catholic population lived in extremely namely disadvantaged circumstances in crowded areas. They didn't of par their unemployment was very high and they were extremely unhappy about the state in the nineteen sixties. Things changed with the advent of television and with the advent of Second Level Education for larger numbers of people the Civil Rights Movement Rosa hosing issues and employment issues and it was met by the northern state with a very violent response civil rights protests against alleged discriminations were dotted at first as noble than a nuisance but as they continue became more insistent and extreme petrol-bomb ominously replaced stones. The main weapons. This was the beginning of what people call the troubles nationalists and Republicans fighting against unionists loyalists or British troops and regular people caught in the middle into the middle of that that scenario the IRA the Irish Republican Army begun to build up forces that was very much acceleration in January. Nine hundred seventy two bloody. He's someday occurred on. That was a notorious massacre of innocent civil rights marchers by a British regiment called the paratroopers. Thirteen people were killed. None of them more armed so a lot of people started to join the IRA at that point you had appalling incidents including bloody Friday when the IRA planted. There's a lot of bombs in the shopping. Streets of Belfast and discriminatory killing civilians on that day. Belfast attacked with twenty seven bombs in one afternoon nine died and over one hundred thirty injured and Jihad loyalists going into collusion with renegade members of the British security forces killing in Catholic in isolated areas or on the contrary and nine hundred eighty one. The British government tried to remove political stasis basis from IRA prisoners and as a result the. Ira Prisoners went on hunger. Strike and Margaret Thatcher refused to relent crime. I'm crying because it is not political. It is crime. No question of political status. By the time a negotiation was reached ten ham of them had died and by the early years of the nineteen nineties. The people of Northern Orange were just completely approaching despair Susan you covered the troubles as a reporter. What was that experience like well? Being a reporter during the conflict meant meant going to a lot of funerals that meant attending a lot of scenes are very violent incidents had happened meant talking to people who are in a state of shock and grief and I and many journalists like me had to go to people's houses the morning after somebody had been cuddled and do interviews with bereaved families and you've been following up with some of them. Yeah I went back to many of the families that I had. I met when they were first bereaved. They're all very powerful and very moving but a few of them did particularly stick in my mind One of them was the story of James Morgan which was told by his mother. Philomena James was he was a sixteen year old. It's just like any other normal happy. Go lucky sixteen year old so in that day James went to meet his friend Nielsen but maybe for two to three hundred yards up throat. He never made it. He was picked up on the bottom Ryan heads. The Ham killed on the very demand. Anonima pet waited to her. Who was when we looked for than a detective arrived? tailless els Phil that's where I got the news from troubles would seem to be far from here. Never even entered her hands that something like this could happen in a small village but it did. It changed things forever. James Morgan was murdered by loyalists and nine hundred ninety seven near his home in the mountains of Mourne I wanted to go with. The judge said is utterly sectarian it was more deferred religion for a long time after it was very nervous because I could sleep the rest of the boys role would they picked up with the meet. The wrong person. Would they go down a road that you didn't want them to go down in fodders used is to say if you've got a good day. Take on if she can laugh. Laugh announced with took his advice in those people's lives were ruined on people had to come to terms with immense pain on many many eight people are still struggling without paying somehow after all that pain both sides tides made peace in one thousand nine hundred ninety eight now. Brexit might make it more in a minute on today explained Eh everyone so I know you know all about vox podcast. 'cause I talk about them all the time you listen to one right now. I know you know about Boxes Netflix. Show Oh explain but vox is also just get into the regular like narrative. TV Game Right now. You can find a show called little America on Apple. TV plus take only in America tax. After you see the second place only in America can such a part of the game exist face. Ace Board Hamburgers cheeseburgers baking. Chilli cheese everything. On top of America. 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It was a going feeling of anticipation as the conviction grew that there were with the same history in the making. All parties have been invited. The largely Protestant unionists along with hardline loyalist groups and the largely Catholic what nationalist along with hardline Republican groups. The mood here at stolen veered almost by the hour between confidence that a deal was tantalizingly close to fears that these talks even as the finish line loomed into sites could still stumbled David Trimble. Head of the Ulster Unionist Party. We see this as laying during the foundations for a healthy vibrant democracy to replace the stagnation frustration and policies of the last three decades. Gerry Adams Adams head of the political wing of the Irish Republican Army. These negotiations instruments which resulted from them are part of our collective verney from the failures of the past towards the future together as as day stretches into evening the mediator former. US Senator. George Mitchell makes an announcement announcement almost a century in the making. I'm pleased to announce that the two governments and political parties of Northern Ireland reached agreement even after generation of struggle. I think many in the Republican Movement said look. It's time to cash in our chips. donoughue battling international relations nations Dublin City University. They had entered a situation of what you might call a mutually hurting stalemate where you know. They weren't going to achieve their objectives objectives through force but neither could the British government impose its authority by force either so they came up with a compromise with two parts. One was is the relationships within Northern Ireland. The power relationships the deal promise that nationalists and unionists would always be represented in northern. Ireland's government both outsides compromise. But got something and what they got was to share power within Northern Ireland based on power-sharing part to the bigger picture on the one hand it promised I missed that Northern Ireland would stay part of the United Kingdom but on the other hand there was a provision for what's called a border poll meaning that at any point in the future there could be referendum where the people of Northern Ireland would vote on whether to join a united Ireland or as British Prime Minister. Tony Blair put it. Those who believe in the United Ireland can make that case now by persuasion not violence or threats and if they voted in favor of United Ireland the British government was duty bound to legislate for it it. It was almost as if the deal was saying something different to each side for unionists. This deal was ideally the end but for nationalists they would never have agreed to it if they had being sold it as an end in itself so certainly was presented as a stepping stone for one side. The deal affirmed that Northern Ireland was a permanent part of the United Kingdom for for the other side. The door was open for Northern Ireland to join the rest of Ireland. Everybody gets a little bit of what they want. Nobody gets everything but everybody gets enough to sell it to their supporters. It was kind of confusing but that was by design. The term that they use was constructive. Ambiguity you try and massage the unpalatable eligible details to a certain degree when people are signing up to something but ultimately then you need to inject the money changed institutions very quickly afterwards so so that people don't have time to go back and have this so-called buyer's remorse. There was no perfect solution to the issue of the border. So the plan sidestepped. It hoping the problem problem might improve with time. The miracle of the Good Friday Agreement is that it's not as is often touted a conflict resolution situation this is conflict management management. We haven't in a sense dismantle. The sectarian mindsets sets that exist in Northern Ireland. Only the guns have been put aside but not the divisive mentalities and that's of course evident to anybody who visits Northern Ireland and the all these different things institutional institutional change constitutional. You still have a problem of attitudes. Not Having changed even in Belfast. For example the largest city there are collaborators upon on kilometers of walls which divide both communities most were built during the travels but some have gone up even since the peace agreement. If you are from one community you can spend your your entire life growing up with a meeting or having a serious conversation with somebody. From the other community. Ninety percent of Northern Ireland students study exclusively with members of their community you get employed into different area re different newspapers. You play different. Sports so north remains very divided. What the Good Friday Agreement did is static regulated the conflict in such a way that people didn't feel it was worthwhile killing each other to resolve it all the while the northern the Irish border has remained almost invisible? It's want that to fight farms. It divides families. It's natural border. And what the Good Friday Agreement agrees managed to do was to make that border invisible. And what Brexit has done is it has reintroduced the threat of a visible boarder back on the island of one. That would be what they call a hard border customs posts security. And that's something that of course everybody who was involved in the Good Friday Agreement is trying to prevent tonight's brexit deadline doesn't say much about what the deal will look like in practice it's symbolism the real negotiations are still yet to take place and when the trade agreement is negotiated. The king will have to make a choice the UK is going to have to figure throughout its trade borders all over again and it's talking about drawing one in the Irish sea which more or less allows for continuing free trade within the island of Ireland but a factor border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. This trade border would split a country Northern Ireland on one side and the rest of the UK on the other but the other option could be even riskier option to would risk undoing the Good Friday agreement by rebuilding the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. That doc border between North and south would become the international border between the European Union and the United Kingdom and it will have to be policed it would be visible and the history of art and suggests that once once you have a visible border it becomes a target. Then you'll have to have reinforcements to defend from attack and you end in an escalating situation which leads to widespread conflict conflict. The history of the troubles makes the risk of a rebuilt land border clear but for unionists in Northern Ireland. Border in the Irish Sea could be dangerous to the problem for people from that perspective. who were by far? The majority of the people who did vote for breaks here is that it throws up the possibility that the United Kingdom itself will not altogether Ben. Lowery edits the unionist leaning Belfast. Newsletter this is a massive change the impact of being edged out of the economic territory territory of your own nation is a very serious one but for Ben it's not a shocking result. Very many people in England when put to the test are not bothered in the at least at the prospect of Northern Ireland leaving and that is something that must concentrate the minds of those of us unionists to think carefully about what the future means a twenty nineteen in poll found that among pro brexit English. Voters almost three-quarters said they didn't care if brexit led to the breakup of the UK and eighty percent said that brexit is worth worth it even if it unravels the peace process in Northern Ireland as those in Northern Ireland the arguments in favor of exit from Northern Ireland perspective are that the European in Union is a fundamentally incoherent system that it tries to many things that are the preserve of the nation state. Essentially the same argument made by the rest of Britain that a nation should make choices for itself think of the person in Northern Ireland to think of themselves as part of the United Kingdom who doesn't think about it very much watch but then accepts that when the nation has decided to move on a major constitutional matter then we as an integral part of that nation. Shen should move with it. I think the simple truth is that because it all happened relatively quickly. I don't think a lot of thought was given to to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so brexit's left unionists with a lot of questions. What do we do if England and the rest of the UK don't want northern Orland? What do we do if independence is not feasible? And what do we do. If people in the Republic of Ireland don't want Northern Ireland. You know we could just be this unwanted place. That's in limbo forever. Those are genuine concerns coming from a guy who was once bullish on Brexit. If you'd asked me ten years ago I was a big supporter of Brexit. Because I thought that the cultural gulf between the United Kingdom and the mainland Europe was too great Unin theory. It's still seems to have a lot of sense to it. But in practice it would be problematic on potentially disastrous brexit. Just doesn't have a good solution that satisfies everyone for most people. The best solution was exactly the way things were attentive. Fragile status quo and Danika Obama says that was the miracle of the Good Friday Agreement. The whole idea of the Good Friday agreement was to postpone boned constitutional issue for at least generation. Let's get people of different political aspirations working together for a generation or two and then when they're used is to working together within Northern Ireland then we can delicately put the question if a majority suggests that will happen thus we would maybe having a united Ireland and what Brexit did is that it it refocused attention on the constitutional issue and all that work that had been put into de emphasizing the border de emphasizing sovereignty de emphasizing constitutional questions dot was now back front and center of practical politics that de-emphasis seemed to be working in a recent survey half of the people in Northern Ireland considered themselves to be neither unionist nor nationalist and the younger they were the more neutral. They got the younger generation Shindo from member. What the conflict like I mean I? I'm a professor as I said in the university I have twenty-something students in front of me it's just remarkable it makes me feel of course incredibly old that they don't remember a conflict in Northern Ireland. I guess the fear is that as you have generation nation who don't know the price of peace who haven't felt the heart and the devastation the conflict and calls that this could be thrown away so certainly piece is not take for granted. The Good Friday Agreement is in many respects a miraculous achievement. I think what's so miraculous here is how rare it is that conflicts like this get resolved. Diplomatically without one side just surrendering think about what something something like. This would mean for Israel Palestine India Pakistan or even Ukraine and Russia. I know none of these conflict is exactly like the other. And even northern Northern Ireland's case the peace plan didn't solve everything but the miracle here is two sides that were at each other's throats for almost a century actually came together They talked they decided on a fragile peace. And it actually worked and then people forgot Explained reporter hasn't felt thanks to Susan. McKay who allowed us to use the audio she recorded Kathleen. Gillespie and PHILOMENA Morgan. Those interviews are part of the series stories from silence which you can find it stories stories from silence dot Com Susan's also working on a book about Protestants in Northern Ireland. And another one. All about borders. I'm Sean Raum the rest of our team here today. Explain his bridge McCarthy Halima Shah Ana Al Saadi Julian Weinberger and Shapiro. The mysterious brake master cylinder provides music and we had a mash up from Jeff. Geld this week an extra hands on deck belonging to Rhodesia Karma and Bird Pinkerton. Our fact checker. Olivia extra is moving. Non from facts. We wish her all the best and thank her for Oliver Checks. Our new fact Checker is CECELIA lay. Welcome Cecilia today. Explained is part of the box media. PODCAST network get in touch. Our email addresses today explained at box dot com

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