Whither Northern Ireland?

Aug 22nd, 2001, 12:30 PM
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Whither Northern Ireland?

I read this in the Times today:

"PARAMILITARY attacks on children in Northern Ireland have almost doubled since the Good Friday agreement was signed two years ago.

Loyalist and republican punishment squads brutalised 47 under-18s in 1999-2000, compared with 25 in the previous two years, according to a report published yesterday."


Can anyone give any insight? Things like this -- and like the recent bombings in Israel, the use of child soldiers in Africa, etc. -- are beyond my understanding. I mean, I can understand how, as the article puts it, ?The terrorists are trying to scare the next generation into believing that, on the ground, it is the paramilitary thugs that now run the show,? but how can the people who actually perpetrate these crimes force themselves to do it? Why is the hate still so deep?

Is there anyone in Northern Ireland (or Israel, etc.) who can try to show me how this happens? I'm reaching for an understanding of the situation, and I'm coming up completely short.

(I do know this isn't a specific travel question, but I believe trying to understand the places you're visiting is as important as what you do when you're there. I'm also not saying that this is what Northern Ireland and/or the Irish are like. I'm just trying to understand the motivation behind something that right now, to me, seems so senseless.)
Aug 22nd, 2001, 01:24 PM
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You could also pose a much broader question about our species: "Why do people commit any crimes or atrocities against other people?"

We're a strange species, capable of creating astonishing beauty and yet also capable of the most unspeakable horrors.

Fortunately, overall, I feel there's move love & beauty than hatred & ugliness in the world. But sometimes you wonder...
Aug 23rd, 2001, 08:29 AM
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Wise words, Capo, and I grant you all your points without reserve.

But I really am trying to find out what makes places like Northern Ireland (etc.) so prone to centuries-long hatred. Again, this is not limited to the few countries mentioned -- there are pockets of deep-running hatred worldwide. But why? Why do some places have centuries of struggle behind them and still fight on? What makes them different from, example chosen at random, France? Or Belgium?
Aug 23rd, 2001, 09:10 AM
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I ( or someone's other version(s) of me ) am the cause. More blood has been shed in the name of religion than anything else
Aug 23rd, 2001, 09:33 AM
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On this "the world's an evil place" theme - did anyone else find the message in Planet of the Apes chilling? Oh, I know on the surface it's just a sci-fi film, but the message it puts across about the evils of human nature made me feel quite doom-laden.
Aug 23rd, 2001, 01:16 PM
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I've never seen The Planet of the Apes -- can you give me a summary?
Aug 23rd, 2001, 02:13 PM
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There was a message in planet of the Apes? Or any Tim Burton film for that matter? Other than one persons really twisted dark view of everything.
I think humanity is in the eye of the beholder just like beauty. If you look for the evil you will certainly find it but if you look for the good you will find it as well.
Aug 23rd, 2001, 03:15 PM
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Thank you, Anguish.

As for the hostilities in Northern Ireland, they're far too complex to do justice to here. The most important thing to bear in mind, I think, it that problems like these have a very long history and to even attempt to try to understand them, one must gain some measure of understanding of that history, from many different viewpoints.

That being said, here's one very brief explanation by someone that I found via a web search; I'm not claiming it's the definitive answer by any means.


James I of England (James VI of Scotland) was a staunch Presbyterian. He wanted to place English and Scots Protestants in Ireland to help "tame" the country. From 1608 to 1697, 200,000 settler, mostly Lowland Scots, emigrated to Ireland. The native Irish Catholics were not, naturally enough, delighted with the situation and hostilities soon began. Those hostilities are the basis of the Catholic-Protestant problems that continue in Northern Ireland to this day.

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