Thursday, August 02, 2007

Occupying British Forces Leave Northern Ireland After 38 Years

After 38 years the Northern Ireland British occupying forces are history. They came in 1969 because of the "Troubles." The English forces were initially welcomed by the Catholic minority who saw them as providing protection from Protestant mob-rule & a corrupt Protestant police force. This didn't last long.
The occupying forces were not the Saviours as originally hoped for. This fueled membership in the almost defunct IRA. Bombings, murders, & hit-and-run became commonplace. The British occupying forces practiced tough tactics against civil rights marchers, & IRA sympathizers. The IRA actively raised "charitable" funds for their revolutionary army & were seen as the protector of the Catholic minority. Terrorism? The IRA were experts and kept a much superior force at bay - nothing new for the Irish.
"The Provisionals' campaign of violence is likely to continue while the British remain in Northern Ireland." This was the conclusion of a government/military report in 1978. Yet the occupation continued with loss of life on both sides - including many innocent civilians.
Any of this ring a bell with modern day conditions??
The reign of terrorism has ended NOT due to one-side being right, but both sides finally realizing that they were never going to triumph. BOTH sides finally realized after much blood-shed & hatred that compromise, forgiveness, and working TOGETHER was the way to peace and sucess.
Did a tough British occupation help? No. It probably fueled the troubles & extended terrorist activities. Hello.
Peace in Northern Ireland once seemed impossible. Unity with the Republic of Ireland? Sure would like to see it in my lifetime. But one step at a time.
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