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Gerry Anderson's Walls and Peace

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 08:33, Monday, 16 March 2009

Protection, a photograph of a Belfast peace line by Grytsje Klijnstra from flickr.com

I've just been listening to a programme on Belfast transmitted last Monday - Walls and Peace - presented by Gerry Anderson. It was made before the murders of the last seven days but it's a very revealing and disturbing portrait of a Belfast phenomenon - the many walls that divide Protestants and Roman Catholics.

It Is not a comfortable listen. The walls are not merely historical relics from The Troubles. They continue to be built. The programme has contributions from people who want very much for the walls to come down - but does not shirk from describing the abnormality of some aspects of Belfast Life. Gerry Anderson's bewilderment and carefully expressed anger shines through.

The programme strips away clichés, is full of surprises (watch out for the poem in the middle of the programme) and has a presenter who palpably knows what he's talking about. It's my favourite programme of the week thus far - though not entirely cheerful.

Listen to the programme:

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  • Comment number 1.

    Can this programme be re-posted on iPlayer please. It is not available at present.

  • Comment number 2.

    @Howrobden I've added the whole of Gerry Anderson's programme to this blog post because it's reached the end of its seven-day run on iPlayer. Unfortunately it's not working this evening. As soon as I've figured out what the problem is I'll post it again. My apologies!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 3.

    Happy to announce that the programme audio is now working. Sorry for the delay!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 4.

    I found this programme quite revealing. Despite the Good Friday Agreement having been signed in 1998, there are still over 80 (I forget the exact figure) of these "peace walls" in Belfast. More confusing is the fact that another one is being constructed.

    I am not optimistic that these walls will be removed in the near future. If I recall correctly, a campaigner for their removal said that it is like hitting your head against a brick wall. Well, multiply that by 80 odd and it means one serious headache!

  • Comment number 5.

    Even walls have ears?

  • Comment number 6.

    I really don't know why when something is working well we find the need to completely re-do it but whatever. That's an argument that will never prevail.

    What I would like to know is why the listen live feature doesn't tell me what is on any more and where I can find that information. Did that not seem important on the new website?

    Thank you

  • Comment number 7.

    The new website - I hate the sudden intrusion of largish pictures. Keep them small . They get in the way of the real information . The radio 4 website is truly horrible - a large, unattractive picture - and far less info than usual. I use it as an entry to the programmes or info I want to read . It's not going to become a kind of "popular" magazine I hope.
    I also object mightily to the realplayer imposition of "free games etc." which popped up on my desk top, and the willy nilly imposition of a new type of google. I want to be able to choose, not have them shoved on me.

  • Comment number 8.

    I've just tried to look at the programmes available. I don't know what they are all called !! For goodness sake give us a list of programmes , not a load of hoops to jump through . We want to know what's on offer, quickly, not to spend half an hour fuming as we try to find out. This is horribly consumer-unfriendly . The old site was miles better and much better suited to ordinary people who are not glued-to-thecomputer anoraks.


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