Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Did I miss something?

Lost in all the "another story about the west vs. Islam" coverage was something absolutely mind-blowing for those of us old enough to remember the 1970s. A British Prime Minister stood up and said the IRA's armed struggle was over. Independent assessors said that the organisation was relinquishing the capacity to mount a terrorist attack. And to cap it all, Ian Paisley sits talking with a Catholic Bishop, is photogrpahed smiling at the meeting, and under some circumstances would enter a coalition government with Sinn Fein.

I was born in 1961, which means that the 'armed struggle' which broke out afresh at the end of the 60s was the first news I remember well. It carried on right through my life, until the cease-fire was announced in August 1994. I remember the date, as that's when my son Jonathan was born.

Perhaps things have changed politically so that terrorism is no longer seen as a way of achieving objectives; perhaps the option of terrorism looks very different post 9/11, especially with US supporters. Maybe people have just got older, wiser and are prepared to listen.

I don't know enough about the story of Northern Ireland to pass any judgments on this, but all I can say is that I'd much rather see people talking at tables than fighting in the streets. They still have a long way to go, but from this distance, it looks like things really have undergone a significant change.

It's just a pity that the media's obsession with Islam has drowned out what might turn out to be a real cause for celebration.

1 comment:

Graham P said...

A very good point. I think that there are many issues (this high amongst them) that are overlooked as they are simply not sensationalist enough for the press.