In inhabited areas, people organize space around themselves and this, in turn, organizes their thoughts, as a noted anthropologist Edward T. Hall maintained.
Your mind is set up differently when you wake up in the morning and have a view up to the horizon and entirely different when you go to the yard and see a block wall ending with barbwires which separates you from your neighbours.
It is hard to imagine that there are poeple in Europe who, asked, how they feel being located in the vicinity to such a wall, would say cheerfully: "Well, very nice and safe". They do not complain about the lack of light, an interrupted view and the sense of imprisonment. The wall, the separation to them equals safety.
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Northern Irish people gained freedom several years ago- freedom from oppression, from unexpected arrests, bombs on the streets, widespread terror.
But they still live, at least in certain areas of Belfast, in a psychological state of siege, that is created not necessarily by them, but by the architecture that still surrounds them.
Northern Ireland is now a thriving place. The post-conflict society does much in order to settle the scores with the past, to create new opportunities for the youth, to move on. Slowly and gradually people of Belfast remove the walls, the separations. But not everywhere, not everybody is ready yet.
And how one can move on when whenever they turn their head, they see the walls which scream : "Be aware! There is a danger behind us!".
A child grows up knowing that behind the wall there must be something spooky. It does not develop a natural willingness to climb it and to see what is behind. It is scared, thus its curiosity is killed straight away. A mental barrier arises. Such barriers are the most difficult to dismantle.
Physically, it may take a day. Mentally- generations.
Text: Aleksandra Lojek
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