Recent Events in Northern Ireland

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 10:11 PM

I've just returned from a fantastic trip to New York, a city so far removed from where I grew up in every conceivable way that it seemed like some make-believe place when I was a kid. I met some wonderful people, ate food whose names I can't remember, and felt like Jimmy the Biscuit because I gave a pretty waitress a stupidly generous tip (there was drink taken, you understand, and she flirted very well).

In all this splendour, I checked the news from home. Two soldiers shot dead over the weekend as they took delivery of pizza, and the Polish immigrant workers who delivered the pizza were injured (the Real IRA, who carried out the attack, claim justification because the delivery men were servicing agents of the British state - you couldn't make it up). On arriving back in my home town I heard further news that a police officer had been murdered last night as he attended an emergency call from a distressed woman.

Quite a come down.

Gerard Brennan expressed it very well here. And that feeling is shared by the vast majority of people here. But the vast majority isn't enough. There has been much debate over whether or not the actions of paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, republican or loyalist, could be understood (or even condoned) given the social, political and historical context of the times. I won't go into that other than to say I know where I stand, and anyone who reads THE TWELVE/THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST will be left in little doubt of my feelings on the issue.

But today, this week, this month, this year, this decade, this century, there can be no case argued for this kind of mindless killing. And if somehow you can make a case for it, then you are a sad, twisted individual, and you have my pity.

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Blogger moonrat said...


having just finished reading your book--essentially in one sitting; couldn't put it down--i feel like this is eerie and sad in a way i wouldn't have understood a week ago. i, naive american that i am, thought that the violence was over.

how terribly sad.

10:34 PM  
Blogger McKoala said...

Honestly, Stuart, when I heard the news on morning radio a couple of days ago, I thought they were replaying an old broadcast from fifteen or twenty years ago. It was like stepping back in time. I could not believe it had happened again. Still can't. And then the police officer. I thought it was over, I really did. Unbelievable.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Jamie Eyberg said...

I find it sad and my thoughts are with you and your fellow countrymen.

12:18 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

People suck sometimes. There's no way to justify it or explain it. They just do.

4:43 AM  
Blogger freddie said...

Sad to hear the violence hasn't ended. We still have a lot of work to do for this world . . .

10:20 AM  
Blogger Josephine Damian said...

Was wondering with the fame and fortune that is certain to come your way would you, could you move away from there? London? Dublin? NYC?

2:39 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

Shoot. I'm sorry I missed you! And, yes, quite disturbing news from the UK. We don't want this demon coming back.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Merry Monteleone said...

So sorry, Stewart... gah, after noticing your comment at Ello's I expected to pop into hear some fun New York city adventure... I'm sorry the homecoming was so stark.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Merry Monteleone said...

Why do I keep misspelling your name? You're perfectly within your rights to thump me on the head if you ever run into me.


10:27 PM  
Blogger Ello said...

That's so wrong and difficult. And I'm glad you wrote your book if it helps highlight this issue. When will people ever learn that life, anybody's life, is sacred?

3:23 AM  

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