Page last updated at 08:42 GMT, Saturday, 4 October 2008 09:42 UK

Troubles shared with new generation

by Judith Cummings
BBC News

A Shared Troubles
The site aims to go live in November

When driving past the site of the Droppin' Well bar in Ballykelly a father turned to his young children in the back seat to point out what had happened there in 1982.

As blank stares and questions about something called the Troubles came back at him, the father was struck by two things.

Firstly, he was thankful that his children were being brought up in a Northern Ireland relatively free from the violence of his childhood.

Then, he asked himself was it right that present and future generations could be unaware of what had gone before?

From that car journey a new venture was born at a kitchen table - "Shared Troubles".

His was a vision of an internet archive, available for all, where people could post and read "real stories" about the Troubles.

The creator, who wants to remain anonymous, was keen that it should not simply be a list of facts and figures, he wanted personal stories, from all sides, to paint the picture for future generations.

'No agenda'

The website is about collating accounts from all those involved in and touched by the 'Troubles'.

Stories come from victims; those left behind; RUC officers; PSNI officers; emergency services; British Army officers; Orangemen; loyalists; republicans; former paramilitaries and former prisoners.

So far, the site has had success in getting accounts from former soldiers, RUC officers, the fire service and civilians.

Its creator hopes for a site with "no agenda, no aim to glamorise the events of the Troubles".

Moreover, his aim is to create a challenging site with people speaking their own minds, he said.

"This is not political, we have no agenda other than letting people talk about their experiences.

"There are going to be people on this site you hate, but if you can read their accounts it may begin to break down prejudices.

"We want it to be a living tribute, it is so important for relatives as people are so easily forgotten.

"Young people today don't realise what real conflict is. Here they can read about real stories about the violence of the past and how people's lives changed as a result."

In future, the website will be expanded to host stories from other conflict regions around the world.

Anyone who wishes to contact the 'Shared Troubles' site can register their interest at www.sharedtroubles.net




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