your letter 'Time
to Face the Toll' you take Liam O'Ruairc to task
for being insensitive concerning your forward for
"Black Operations: The Secret War Against the
Real IRA" and issued a challenge for him to explain.
earlier review by Liam O'Ruairc on the Dublin and
Monaghan bombing may clarify things.
acceptable response in the court of media and public
opinion to Omagh is outright condemnation of the Real
IRA. The loss of your son James, and the loss of children
in general, gives you the moral high ground as well
as a strong emotional position to argue your case
from. This does obscure one important element. The
reasons why the Real IRA carried out that bombing.
The political objectives they thought they could achieve
through that action. Physical force republicanism
as a tactic is discredited - Omagh has seen to that.
This fact should not be used to prevent discussion
amongst those who wish to look deeper than a tabloid
response to events. For those opposed to the Good
Friday Agreement, a refusal of examination of any
alternatives by being repeatedly told it's the only
show in town, there is no plan B and a review will
sort out the teething problems does not make it any
more workable in practice.
remember reading that you had a meeting with the 32
County Sovereignty Movement. Only you and the other
people present know what took place.
mention you are running the London Marathon to demonstrate
you care for all human life and to fundraise for victims
groups and the police fund. Fundraising for the PSNI
is controversial for republicans, which might rule
out Liam running alongside you for that particular
cause. Aside from that I wish you all the best.
you refer to forgiveness in your letter, I mention
this as it may be relevant. In London there is a short
running exhibition - the F Word: Images of Forgiveness.
This is a series of international accounts of how
people overcome acts of political and other violence
carried out against them. There is an accompanying
which has the same details - a picture of the individuals
and their stories; in some cases both victims and
perpetrators, where some form of reconciliation has
taken place. This project exists to assist organisations
working in the area of victim support, conflict resolution
and reconciliation. The purpose of the exhibition
is to show how some people have found they can transcend
their tragedy and trauma by moving beyond hate and
blame. To quote from a interview by Marina Cantacuzino
with Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
does not mean condoning what has been done. It means
taking what has happened seriously and not minimising
it; drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens
to poison our entire existence. In the telling of
stories like these there is real healing."
forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the
best form of self interest. It is also a process
that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions
are all part of being human. You should never hate
yourself for hating others who do terrible things:
the depth of your love is shown by the extent of
entries may be of interest. One by Mrs
Margaret McKinney, whose son Brian was one of
the disappeared. She has gone through the stages of
wanting revenge to now being open to meeting with
the persons who abducted and killed her son. The second
entry is Jo
Berry/Pat Magee. She initiated contact with Pat
Magee. The results of this were filmed and broadcast
in autumn 2001 where from what I remember of the programme
she asked him why her father had to die.
a human level, paraphrasing your words, not one more
life should be ended in the name of a religious or
political belief. Taking the position that the Real
IRA are forever unreconstructed terrorists who simply
need to learn and acknowledge the error of their ways
does not address the question of motivation or change
hearts and minds
question of empathy, forgiveness or the showing of
remorse. This cannot be imposed as part of a reparations
package of the I am right, you are utterly wrong,
now demonstrate this to me. Such meetings should be
voluntary and freely entered into by all parties concerned
or else it is meaningless. An empty ritual.
past cannot be altered, its the present and the future
that counts now. A forgiveness process is a journey
that enables survivors to move on in their lives instead
of becoming frozen in a moment of time. Or in rare
instances to see some humanity in the enemy whilst
not for one moment denying what they have done. And
likewise for perpetrators to acknowledge the long
term consequences of their actions.
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