Terrorism. Today, when we say that word, it conjures up all kinds of images and feelings. Growing up, I’ve developed my own connotations of the word. In an unintentionally self-absorbed way, I assumed terrorism was an entirely American thing, and that it all started here with us. But Ireland has made me realize a different story. Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal. If you know anything about Irish history in the last hundred years or so, then you know this definition fits the conflict in Ireland to a T. A few years ago, I would have said that Ireland’s form of terrorism was very different than ours, in the sense that our fear is of a foreign enemy, and Ireland’s of a domestic one. However, I now believe we can somewhat better understand Ireland’s form of terrorism. With our present and ongoing domestic mass shootings and bombings, more and more often in the name of ISIS, we are becoming less afraid of an enemy outside our borders and more terrified of one within. I’m not making any assertions on which form is better, as they are both obviously atrocious and unbearable, I’m just making an observation on what I see as a developing similarity. What is particularly interesting to me, however, is the fact that I can almost empathize with the motivations for Irish terrorism. I get it. Almost. I understand why they were willing to go so far, after so many centuries of being ignored. But I just do not comprehend ISIS’s rationale. I find it impossible to fathom how they really think mass murder will lead to a better world. You could say Ireland is now a better place, but only once terror was primarily discarded. Violence doesn’t create peace – it only creates more violence. How many more times will the world be shown this before we finally pay attention?
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Derry, Northern Ireland