Walk a mile in some victim’s shoes to build a shared future

Walk a mile in some victim’s shoes to build a shared future
In their footsteps @ImagineBelfast
by Raquel GOMEZ for Shared Future News
12 March 2018

Black loafers, brown boots, pink heels and black sneakers are ways to tell a story. As part of the Imagine Festival in Belfast, “In their footsteps” is an exhibition that comprises pairs of shoes of victims of the conflict.

Behind every pair of shoes there is a family, a background and a person that the empty shoes represent. Behind every pair of shoes there is a story with a first name and surname.

“My brother Eamon McDevitt was shot by a Royal Marine Commando on the 18th August 1971. My brother Eamon was 28. He was deaf and could not speak, but he was a happy man. He could communicate, laugh and love,” read Mr Sammy McDevitt from the piece of paper that accompanies the shoes.

Ms Alison Moran gives a voice to her husband’s story: “His name was Paul Moran and he was gunned down as he made his way to work on the 30th January 1992. We had a 16-month-old son who on that morning was robbed of a father. I was robbed of a husband and Paul was robbed of his life.”

The Troubles did not just break the land. It broke people, broke lives and broke families.
Since the conflict, families have learnt how to deal with loss and absence and in many cases, like some of those who feature in “In their footsteps”, without enough help from the government.

Victims’ families are united under the theme “set the truth free”, and they want the Irish and British governments to establish enforceable and acceptable means of dealing with the past.

“Our government tells us we cannot live in the past. They tell us we must move on, but to do that we need our government’s help. We need the funding released so that proper investigations and inquests can be hold. Maybe then we can all move on,” said Moran.

The truth is that the conflict left wives without husbands, sons and daughters without a father or a mother, parents without children, and people who have had to learn how to live without some of their loved ones. “All we ever wanted was the truth and an apology,” McDevitt explained.

“In their footsteps” shows victims through their shoes, equally, regardless their religion, background, status and whoever the perpetrators were.

Walk a mile in Eamon McDevitt’s black loafers. Walk a mile in Colette Doherty’s pink heels. Walk a mile in Paul Whitters’ black sneakers. Walk a mile in some victim’s shoes to build a shared future.

“My name is Christofer Quinn and I am now 86, that is if I hadn’t been murdered on the night of 4th November. I was murdered not 15 meters from my home where my wife and my five children were. I will never be forgotten.”


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