The Children of Ireland Group
P. O. Box 13241, Tallahassee, Florida 32317
Telephone: (850) 562-6466 Ext. 3307

A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

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About the Author




Here he is - wide-eyed - beaming smile - inquisitive eyes - looking for some mischief to get into - nothing to separate him from millions of other kids - right?  No, unfortunately, he's growing up in Belfast and at some point he will be touched or affected by The Troubles.  But this is not a book totally about grief, strife, heartache, etc.  - it's a book about hope and as page 11 mentions:

 "While it's the children who suffer the most, it's also the children who possess the solutions."

So it is in the book - we see faces of hope and children who possess future solutions - a book that will warm the hearts of everyone who reads and shares it with friends and relatives!




Look familiar?  Look again - sure, she's just like every family picture we've all seen - a little, sweet, and innocent young lady wanting to be captured for all-times in a photograph - working on that smile to warm your heart, ready to run into your arms once the camera's put down, and asking, "take another picture, pleeeeaaasssee...."- who could resist?  

Belfast children are just like those we have all seen - the innocence of youth - but, in 1997 as in many years past, the children there have had to grow wise before they should - The Troubles have caused it whether they be Catholic or Protestant, Republican or Unionist, Nationalist or Loyalist.   

The question is, will she ever develop that smile we're waiting for here?  What is she really thinking?  Has she already seen horrors that one can only imagine?  Or, has she been spared and has the hope many of us do that peace is forthcoming?

copyright Tom Kumpf 1999



How many times have we all seen a scene such as this?  Beautiful park - dozens of kids all together, one or more with their dogs running about, playing football, baseball, soccer, capture the flag, and so on.  No matter where you go in the world, one will find scenes like this over and over.  In Belfast it is no different - only there's a certain difference that's not found in many parts of the world - that of barriers - barriers to divide Protestant from Catholic, Republican from Unionist, Nationalist from Loyalist - 

copyright Tom Kumpf 1999



A new person is recognized on either side and the common exchange begins, "What ya doin in my park? What's ya name?  You Catholic or Protestant"

copyright Tom Kumpf 1999



".....In one of the most volatile, pro-IRA neighborhoods the officers got out and did their best to provide good PR photos.  One performed tricks with a yo-yo, then gave it to a young boy standing nearby.  Others shared childhood memories with the children about how great it was to be out of school during Easter holiday.  Yet another, much younger than the rest, broke every rule I'd learned in Vietnam regarding information and the enemy by encouraging the children to touch and look through the scope of his rifle.  Shortly, a large crowd began to gather, and it was decided that perhaps it was a good time for us to leave."



"He could just as easily have begun with "They", or "The Bad Guys," but when he pointed his gun in the children's direction and said, "You can't even get away from me in the dark 'cause I can get ya with this night scope." the coolness of his voice was taken as an open threat by everyone involved.  One boy seemed particularly shocked, others appeared challenged, and all I could do was wonder what this statement might bring a few years from now when these  boys are old enough to think and act for themselves."

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