The Terrorist as Statesman

Washington, London and Dublin all declare that the peace process must continue--no matter how many people get killed. Gerry Adams completely agrees.

Issue: Spring 2004

Gerry Adams, A Farther Shore: Ireland's Long Road to Peace (New York: Random House, 2003), 448 pp., $25.95.

In the 1930s, with the ghastly blood-letting of 1916-22 at a reasonably safe distance, nationalist Ireland began to create a fresh narrative about those Troubles, one which was thoroughly sanitized. This tale was drenched with Irish victimhood, British villainy and republican gallantry; Irish nationalism had discovered something entirely new in the history of war: peaceful terrorism.

The scores of innocent civilians who were killed in the rising in Dublin in 1916 were forgotten. So too were the Protestants murdered by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) because of their religion, and the thousands of "loyalists"--people faithful to the union with Britain--driven from newly independent Ireland. The campaign against Irishmen who had served in the British army in the Great War--hundreds were murdered--completely vanished both from the popular memory and the official histories.

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