For a hundred years, Ireland has been divided in two. To the south, the Republic, an independent country and member of the European Union. To the north, Northern Ireland, belonging to the United Kingdom. In this territory of barely 1.8 million inhabitants, two rival camps coexist: on the one hand the Unionists, mainly Protestants and loyal to the United Kingdom. On the other, the Irish nationalists, mostly Catholics, who want to be attached to the Republic of Ireland and no longer be part of the United Kingdom.
Since the end of the civil war in 1998, which claimed 3,500 lives, hatred has persisted between these two communities. In the capital, Belfast, enemy neighborhoods are separated by 8-meter-high concrete walls. Every evening and weekend, the metal doors that allow you to pass from one district to another are closed.
Each community retains its own traditions. On the Protestant side, on July 12, the victory of Protestant King William III over Catholic King James II is celebrated by gigantic parades and marching bands. On August 8, it’s the turn of the Catholic community to taunt the protests. In the Bogside district of Derry, Dede and his friends make a gigantic bonfire using wooden pallets. They hang the flag of the United Kingdom, and proclaim their hatred of the British crown.
In the underprivileged districts of Belfast and Derry, paramilitary groups exercise parallel justice and conduct punitive expeditions. We met one of their former members, who recounts the brutality of these groups and their recruitment methods. Between criminality and identity rivalry, dive into Northern Ireland, a country where civil war is once again threatening to break out.
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