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Voice of the Troubles: 25th Anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strike (Cutaway)

From: Charles Lane
Length: 08:23

Exploring conflict in the modern world through the stories and experiences of the Irish Troubles

Muralhstrike2_small ***ultra-condensed version of full hour documentary*** 25 years ago this summer, 10 men went on hunger strike in Northern Ireland. They all died. For Americans watching current events in Iraq, the stories of the hunger strikers are haunting. And when the looking glass is pulled back we see eerie similarities between the two conflicts: warring factions on all sides with a foreign army caught in the middle trying desperately to keep the peace. What is it like to live in constant conflict? What does the brink of civil war sound like? Voice of the Troubles answers those questions for an American audience by entering the lives of those who lived in Ireland during the 70s and 80s, waking up each morning to find bodies on their doorstep and bombs under their kitchen window. The cutaway profiles the death of one hunger striker and compares it to a roadside bombing orchestrated by the IRA. The piece concludes with a collage of wisdom about living in constant conflict. It’s history passed through the lens of today’s headlines.

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Piece Description

***ultra-condensed version of full hour documentary*** 25 years ago this summer, 10 men went on hunger strike in Northern Ireland. They all died. For Americans watching current events in Iraq, the stories of the hunger strikers are haunting. And when the looking glass is pulled back we see eerie similarities between the two conflicts: warring factions on all sides with a foreign army caught in the middle trying desperately to keep the peace. What is it like to live in constant conflict? What does the brink of civil war sound like? Voice of the Troubles answers those questions for an American audience by entering the lives of those who lived in Ireland during the 70s and 80s, waking up each morning to find bodies on their doorstep and bombs under their kitchen window. The cutaway profiles the death of one hunger striker and compares it to a roadside bombing orchestrated by the IRA. The piece concludes with a collage of wisdom about living in constant conflict. It’s history passed through the lens of today’s headlines.

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Review of Voice of the Troubles: 25th Anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strike (Cutaway)

This powerful piece begins with one man's story of his brother's death by hunger strike, then evolves into a broader meditation on the soul-destroying pain of a long-running violent conflict. The strength of the piece is in the voices and the facts they carry: plainspoken Northern Irelanders telling of their lost loved ones.

One quibble: the piece would be even stronger without some of the bits of narration, which admittedly are very few and spare. The last couple of musings on the nature of conflict feel overwritten. But that's a minor gripe. At a time when Americans are killing and dying everyday, it's moving to hear these voices from another of the globe's trouble spots, one fortunately making fewer headlines these days.

Timing and Cues

in: music, "my name is . . ."
out: ". . . then you fight", music

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