April 22 2000
Writing on wall spells out peace hopes
By Claire McGahan
COLOURFUL but controversial sectarian murals on the walls of Belfast have given way to a new cross-community peace mural.
The writing is on the wall as a team of kids from both sides of the political fence design and paint their own peace mural to symbolise the hopes of today's generation - rather than the culture of conflict from the past.
The new mural - opposite Grosvenor Road RUC station in Belfast - shows landmarks from each tradition side by side interspersed with trees, the rooting joining to form a fabric beneath the streets woven with the patterns and symbols of both communities.
The young people are all taking part in an American documentary being made about the province's tradition of murals.
They are led by Karen Kelly, founder of the worldwide Global Harmony Mural Project. She has worked in more than 40 conflict zones across the world.
She said: "I think in their hearts people always want to do good. Inside they feel the values but they act out of habit. Maybe if you see every day a mural that represents those values you will act according to them instead of following old habits and traditions. "Van McLeod, director of the documentary and Commissioner of Culture for the state of New Hampshire, spent his early years in Ireland when his father served as the US ambassador.
He said: "We want the film to highlight these kids and this project throughout the world. If the vision of a happier more peaceful future can find expression on a wall then perhaps ultimately it will find expression in hearts and minds." © Copyright Belfast Telegraph Newspapers Ltd.