Having lived with terrorism for close on 40 years, and still living with it, having been threatened and held up by terrorists, including youngsters with Molotov cocktails, I have thought about it repeatedly. To some extent, I can understand internecine terrorism, even if I think it’s futile, but international terrorism seems pointless. The only people who are going to suffer are the innocents. A bomb in the centre of London, with all sorts of different factions claiming responsibility, whose philosophies are totally unknown to those people they have managed to kill and maim, achieves nothing, except misery for those involved, including the ones that have to clear up the mess.
Domestic terrorism, like Northern Ireland, achieved very little in the long-run, it possibly shifted power marginally, with different people committing the same excesses that perpetrated the original trouble. A select few become wealthy, vast numbers are either dead, been injured, traumatised or inconvenienced. It was not worth it, all of us are far worse off than when we started.
I am convinced that apart from those in charge of the terrorism, the manipulators, a large proportion of the rest are in it for kicks. Today, here, young children and teenagers lay traps for the services, police ambulance and fire, dial 999, and then when the service arrives they are pelted with bricks and Molotov cocktails. This is entertainment, an adrenaline rush, excitement and different from the perpetrators’ meagre lives. Terrorism is not a war, in spite of the fact that the terrorists would like you to think it is, they are making war on the innocents, in every way, increasing the taxes, causing disruption, killing and maiming mostly people going about their daily lives, probably with very little political opinion. In a face-to-face war, both sides are there for a reason, and they know what it is. Initially there may be fear when things start but then one gets on with what one is trained to do, to one’s best ability, possibly helped by adrenaline. This is a different sort of war, innocents get hurt, but that is not the raison d’etre, as in terrorism. I am convinced from my own experience, that the young people who become suicide bombers, bomb makers and terrorists’-tools, do so, not out of any political persuasion, but either for the excitement, or because they have been led to believe their name will go down in history, like hunger strikers. There is also the excitement of being sent to another country to learn one’s trade, and the actual teaching is also exciting, the thought of suicide, capture and incarceration is put in a blind spot, in the way serviceman believe that it is always someone else who gets killed, that it won’t happen to you, ,and only after having experienced a tour, does one know what one is getting into.
Everyone knows the Basque Separatists’ reasons, but what man in the street can tell you why that bomb was placed in London?. The IRA bombs, here and in London, were intended to make the British Government so sick of Northern Ireland politics, that they would agree to Northern Ireland becoming part of Eire. This involved damaging the economy by doing as much structural damage, and disrupting our way of life as much as possible. One aspect of the Northern Ireland Troubles which I believe is not unique, was the outside finance, technical and political help which was provided by the Irish Lobby in America. I am convinced that these people had never visited nor had much knowledge of the true situation in Northern Ireland, but nonetheless they enjoyed the excitement of being involved, by running fund raisers. They wanted into the act vicariously and were happy to provide the help, the weapons and the money, to have innocent people slaughtered, some by mistake, for which an apology was given. This also is a ludicrous state of affairs
Terrorism is now worldwide and interlocking, which might lead one to believe that in fact it is an industry, with aims not as altruistic as we are supposed to think. Some of the IRA were trained in Libya, the IRA sent people to South America to train people there, one can believe that it is a network, especially when there is no way that anything will be achieved. Terrorism is like kidnapping and blackmail, one cannot pay up, or it’ll grow like a rash. For this reason and those that I were enumerated above, to any sensible person international, and all terrorism would seem to be a futile exercise.