Nick Garbutt is doing some good work bringing much needed perspective to the vicitims issue… After yesterday’s column in the News Letter, he points out what ought to be the bleedin obvious, ie that in terms of any natural justice, the guy who blows himself up (of which there were many in the early days of the Troubles) is not the same as the person or persons they kill…
…it is not the same for people who just found themselves randomly caught up in events, remember the taxi drivers, called out to the “wrong estate”, people shot in their own homes because of their “religion”, those in the wrong bar and the wrong time. And the countless others who misfortune have been blighted by what happened.
And remember too, the conflict was largely confined to very specific areas, some rural, most urban, it had, and still does have a disproportionate impact on those places, and to the significant swathes of the professional classes who were not really impacted, were disengaged from politics, didn’t want to know and today would rather pretend it all didn’t happen, I can only display to you a weary and heartfelt contempt.
Ignore this issue and it will fester. Continue to build conditions where political leaders lie about their past and we will get nowhere. A peace process is just that, a process, and unless it continues it will fail. Rowan may not quite have the answers, but unless this debate is settled, and settled soon we may yet be de-railed by the past.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty