Showing posts from June, 2016

Breaking down the barriers

When I was a youngster, the only British people I knew wore uniforms, pointed guns, and seemed to have hatred in their eyes.

For a couple of years in the 1970s, my parents lived right beside a militarized border which contained watch towers, a barbed wire fence, and was patrolled by heavily armed soldiers.

Crossing the bridge between Donegal and Tyrone was an ordeal; my parents and their friends had to psyche themselves up for routine journeys to places like the nearest supermarket or dentist's.

On one occasion, I remember my father being hauled out of the car by the men in uniforms after he dared to speak back after a long and tiring day spent visiting cousins in Monaghan.

The people of Lifford never knew whether or not they would be hauled out of their cars at gunpoint by young men from places like Sheffield and Sunderland who probably hadn't a clue why they had been sent to Northern Ireland in the first place.                          

Even though I was only five or six ye…

If you dare to criticise Israel, you must be "anti-Semitic"

Last week, a blog post I wrote following a talk by a Holocaust survivor was described as “hate-mongering”.
In the piece, I dared to suggest that it was deeply saddening that the descendants of the people who suffered so much in 1930s and 1940s Europe had become oppressors themselves.
I wrote that some Israelis and Palestinians had “dehumanised” the other side in ways which were eerily similar to what went on in Germany back in the 1940s.
There is no doubt that the whole of Europe should have collective shame over the extermination of six million Jewish people by the Nazis during World War Two.

That shame extends to Ireland, where our Government – just a few years after independence – did next to nothing to help those who were trying to escape from persecution.
It was natural and understandable that revulsion over the Holocaust led to widespread public support across the globe for the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948.
The only problem was that nobody seemed to take the needs…