Bombing in Belfast (July 13, 2018)

He who lives by the sword dies by the sword… or something like that.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND — There are few conflicts as old as that which has been raging in Ireland for at least a century. Whether it is framed as Catholic vs. Protestant, Irish nationalist vs. UK loyalist or north vs south, the war for Ireland’s soul is indeed a long one.

This violent campaign has seen atrocities on both sides with the average citizenry caught in the middle. That is alas all too common: ideologues promising freedom or the protection of the status quo tend to ignore those that suffer the most. These tend to be the ones who really do not care what the argument is about.

Into this mix is of course the debate over ‘terrorist vs. freedom fighter’. I would imagine that this applies in spades to the IRA – the Irish Republican Army or whatever it is calling itself these days. If you are a southern Catholic Irish nationalist, the IRA is fighting on the side of right. If you are a northern Protestant UK loyalist they are the opposite. Tomato, tomahto.

So what happens when one side turns on its own? This does occur from time to time as groups splinter and split. Sometimes it is when there is a new sheriff in town or someone vying to take over leadership. Sometimes it is a disagreement over methods and goals. Rarely is it pretty.

The IRA has not been immune to this phenomenon. On occasion it has turned nasty. On this day in 2018 the ‘New’ Irish Republican Army is believed to have been behind the use of a homemade bomb at the home of Gerry Adams, allegedly a former member of the IRA. His two grandchildren narrowly missed injury as they had been standing at the doorway where the bomb hit a mere ten minutes earlier.

Some would say Gerry Adams would have deserved his fate had he been there when the explosive device was chucked. Could the same have been said for his grandkids?

Phil Gurski

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