"No serious person could ever negotiate on the demands of terrorists who have been using suicide bombers to kill people..."
We are not going to deal with this problem, with the roots as deep as they are, until we confront these people at every single level."
"I don't think the IRA would ever have set about trying to kill 3,000 people,"
It would appear that Mr Blair thinks that one of the terrorist groups that bombed the country I grew up in for 36 years were fluffy bunnies in comparison to the suicide bombers representing Al Quaeda.
Tell that to my mum's cousin who lost her husband then. Tell that to the families of the 1800 people they did kill. Tell that to the families whose young people could see no other future than the provos. Tell that to the couples who had to flee to England because of intimidation.
If the IRA were really the gentleman's terorist, you really might have told me so when had to walk home, lost in the pouring rain and accept the kindness of a random girl from the bus who invited me into her family's house for tea n cake while the madness raged outside preventing me from getting home from school. Would have been nice to know that when my primary school had to spend almost an entire morning lying on the floor in the gym because there had been a paramilitary related shooting outside the school gate. (My teacher still made us bring our work books with us tho - hmmph!)
Tell that to my secondary school teachers who had to put up with our ridiculous prankish behaviour - was it just my school where kids stole wires from the technology lab and shoved them into a lunch box in order to create a security scare? Tell that to me and my friends when we had to be evacuated out of our maths exam (well, maybe that was quite kind of them...)
I'm not arguing that Al Quaeda are a different kind of terrorism than the IRA, nor am I arguing that Al Quaeda have operated on a far larger scale and have been far more deadly.
But what I am arguing is this.
No. 1. The IRA murdered around 1800 people - they weren't nice friendly terrorists. Lets not glam them up or romanticise the republican struggle. People can get very romantic these days about Irish terrorism, but I grew up with it and assure you, it is anything but romantic.
No. 2. We negotiated with the IRA. That is how steps towards peace have been made. I suggest we can learn a few lessons from this. We must listen in humility and be willing to change. Our government, our politics, our foreign policies have all played a role in creating people who feel so angry and disenfranchised that they are willing to turn to terrorist violence. We can and we must be willing to sit down and listen. You can't stop a fire by throwing petrol on it.