Behind the rhetoric of justification and the next generation

“You could hear the people screaming and crying and moaning. The first thing that caught my eye was a torso of a human being lying in the middle of the street. It was recognisable as a torso because the clothes had been blown off and you could see parts of human anatomy. One victim had his arms and legs blown off and some of his body had been blown through the railings. One of the most horrendous memories for me was seeing a head stuck to a wall. A couple of days later we found vertebrae and a ribcage on the roof of a nearby building. The reason we found it was because the seagulls were diving on to it.”This quote is taken from a thread on El Blogador’s site about the Bloody Friday bombing and it reminded me of a conversation I had with an ex-prisoner. He described how when he was first released he enjoyed the notoriety he had especially among some of the young people of the area he lived in, how he was the great man who had “done the job” and wanting to hear the “stories”. Tales which he had left out detail like the wails of the family as he left the scene or the children who had witnessed the attacks. He then became involved in youth and interface work. He soon noticed how often it was the same youths who had venerated him that he had to get away from interfaces. He then decided “I don’t tell the stories anymore. I was filling a new generation’s head full of shite”.

In our history the gun has come and gone, always to return. If a common goal is to ensure no return to violence how do we instil the future generations with an sufficient abhorrence that they never see it as an option?