14 September 2001

Today at the Vicarage The

Today at the Vicarage: The Vicarage.

I have read the guestbook with interest. And Ian Wallace’s excellent posting in which he questions the source of the hatred.

I expose my own uneducated thoughts to public ridicule:

The hatred does not need a source. It can feed on itself as a self sufficient end in itself. In the same way that people can give their life meaning through their love of something (such as King Crimson fans?!), they can do so through hatred. – such as the Nazis with the Jews, perhaps.

This is not to say that any of Ian’s assumed reasons are wrong.

The cause of the hatred in Northern Ireland is buried further and further in the past, and yet the hatred continues, to such an extent that protestant families will throw bricks at children whose only crime is to wish to walk past their houses in order to attend the school at the end of the road. And these are people who are entirely rational and loving in the other affairs of their lives.

If we cannot resolve the hatred between people living one street apart, with few cultural differences (none, if we accept that their religious differences are more imagined than real), what hope is there for a hatred that spans a huge cultural and geographical divide?

In combating terrorism, It is more important to win the peace – which is the hearts and minds of the everyday population – than the war.

If the war is won through bombs, you will almost certainly lose the peace, which means you have lost the war, as the terrorists will multiply.

The lessons of Northern Ireland show that these are not enemies that can be shot or bombed.

And finally an absurd, impractical question for students of civil liberties:

Which is the greater liberty – the right to travel on an aeroplane, or the right to travel in safety. What if we had to earn our right to fly on an aeroplane, in the same way that we earn our right to drive a car – by passing tests, references, good behaviour etc? What if many of our liberties had to be earned rather than being our birthright?