I've not heard anything from the Belfast telegraph about my comments on Steven King's article. However a similar letter was published on 12.07.05 here.
I know several other people wrote in after I did - thanks y'all. We can only hope that it will make a small difference. I was talking to a really good friend of mine who lives in London. She is a Muslim - her family want her to get out of London. A Muslim lady had her headscarf set alight not far from where she lives, and there were children shouting abuse outside the mosque her family attends, as people went to worship.
I will try to remember that next time I enter the Quaker meeting house and wonder what it would be like to be shouted at by children as I go in.
The involvement of children in this sort of activities really bothers me. A few years ago in the delightful "holiday" that is Northern Ireland's marching season, there had been a spate of car hijackings all over the country. Most people think of big strapping crowds of men hijacking cars, but a lot of the time, its not like that. Most of the people I saw causing trouble, stopping cars and intimidating people out of them couldn't have been fifteen years old - some were, I'm sure as young as 10 or 11. (Of course, we don't release this information to the national news - how embarrassing to realise that Ulster's teeny-boppers bring our country to a halt each summer!)
I turned out of our road and got half way to the end of the main road, whereupon I saw about 10 kids waiting for me with big sticks. I did a very fast U-turn and drove right back home again, deciding that whatever I was going out for wasn't all that important after all.
I think the greatest tragedy, isn't so much the burnt out cars - we have insurance (and in NI, we pay through the roof for car insurance because of it). Its not having to walk home because your car has been stolen. Its the fact that our children and young people are doing it. That is the greatest tragedy. What sort of community are we building?