The keywords  – Ireland, The Cranberries, Good Friday and Jesus – are not equal in importance but they are all part of my story.

I am a big fan of Ireland! I have never lived there (my brother has, my friends and close relatives do) but I have always been fascinated by it. The Celtic art, the history, the music, the land, the people. No, let’s put the hospitality first! Through marriage I even inherited a family name that is well-known in Ireland. Lansdowne road, Lansdowne rugby club and so on.  My American husband is an ‘Irish wanna-be’.

I am a big fan of 90’s rock bands! The Cranberries, Pearl Jam, Jesus Jones and Nirvana to name just a few. While living in Southeast Asia, I discovered how much Asians like to sing cover songs and I cannot count how many times I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirits” or “Zombie“, And every time I heard someone sing “Zombie” in open cafe, bar or street corner, I could not help but think, “They probably have no idea. What if they understood what the Troubles in Northern Ireland were?”

When I first heard this song I did not pay attention to the lyrics either. At the time it was just another popular rock song with great female vocals. We tried to sing as angry and aggressive as Dolores O’Riordan because we felt it was a protest song. But protesting against what? And what is this zombie in your head?

“Another head hangs lowly
Child is slowly taken
And the violence caused such silence
Who are we mistaken

But you see it’s not me
It’s not my family
In your head, in your
Head they are fighting

In your head, in your head
Zombie, zombie, zombie”

This song came to my mind recently! Last week I wrote about Syria and my words felt so inadequate, small and flat.  Innocent children keep dying in this war and I hear this angry and aggressive voice  singing again “And the violence caused such silence, Who are we mistaken?”

Here is the important part – I am also a big fan of Jesus of Nazareth! This week Christians around the world are celebrating and remembering the events that are the cornerstone of our faith . For me it has everything to do with what I see around. Borrowing the words of a Croat theologian Miroslav Volf, “A genuinely Christian reflection on social issues must be rooted in the self-giving love of the divine Trinity as manifested on the cross of Christ.” To many people the cross is an offensive symbol but I think of it as a scandal. This kind of humiliation and seeming defeat is the ultimate scandal. Jesus gives himself for the others but the violence does not stop. It takes his life and the powers-to-be seem unshaken.

But there is no way around the cross. There is no modern or post-modern solution to our or any age. M. Volf thinks that modernity creates “culture of social hope” and post-modernity creates “culture of endurance”. Jesus creates neither. Our world is healed by the “weakness” and “foolishness” of the self-giving love.

Going back to the Cranberries and Northern Ireland, I am also a big fan of Good Friday Agreement! What a beautiful name to have for a reconciliation process! Next year it will be 20 years since it was agreed in Belfast on April 10, 1998. Again I am speaking as an outsider who has neither lived through the violence nor faced the challenges and the walls that still exist. But I have much hope and faith and the people in Northern Ireland show us all something crucial.

Our world desperately needs Good Friday agreements. Unless we want to keep singing, “In your head, in your head… zombie, zombie… du, du, du, du”

Cranberries

The Cranberries (photos from internet)

 

3 thoughts on “Good Friday and The Cranberries in my head

  1. I was perhaps closer than you to the troubles, but still across the water. They still affected my life though from the kids that came across for breaks from both sides of the sectarian divide to my Irish neighbours. From the fear of a public waste bin to the search through bags before entering some buildings in case of bombs. So it was with a great deal of incredulity that I saw Martin McGuinness sitting side by side and laughing after the agreement. That gave hope! Hope that even the worst enemies can grow to respect each other.

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    • Thanks, Joanna, for following my blog and for your thoughtful comments! Yes, I think many people remember the two guys/former enemies sitting side by side. I was thinking about it when Martin McGuiness died recently and how much respect was given to him. It would have been unimaginable decades ago. Growing up in Latvia, I got my info about the conflict in NI mostly through music and movies. Like the band U2 and others. (The art has such a way to communicate. Especially with the youth!) Of course, most people take sides and I think most Latvians took the republican side since it resonated more with our own experience and situation and dreams. I was not following the Good Friday events too closely at the time since so much was happening in newly independent Latvia. But watching the documentaries and reading about it now, it is hard to underestimate the achievement. I was reading the autobiography by Tony Blair “A journey” and he gave some very good insights into the peace process. I underlined the principles he highlighted. YWAM in Northern Ireland has been involved in reconciliation work for many many years. I hope to visit them one day and learn more from their experience! So inspired by the communities and ordinary people and the commitment to healing and embrace!

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