Radio republican must release pain

Radio republican must release pain

Newsletter article 29 Jan 2011

The Saturday 29 January edition of The News Letter included comment from Ian Bothwell.

A South Armagh peacemaker has given his response to a republican who this week defended bombs in civilian area.

A woman calling herself Sheila from Antrim caused outrage on Thursday after defending the dissident bomb attacks on the Antrim Road in Belfast.

Speaking live on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show, she said that anyone who reported the bombers to police was “a traitor and a Judas” and that she was ready to sacrifice herself and her children “to get rid of the British”. Her niece had been “riddled” by the SAS, she said, and so far as civilian deaths go, “one death is the same as another”. When challenged on bombs in civilian areas, she added: “I can’t answer that expect to say, when you get orders you do it”.

Ian Bothwell, who has worked in reconciliation work in south Armagh for some 30 years, said yesterday it would be helpful if Sheila would clarify who the British people are she wants rid of. “The wounds of the past have not been healed and the death of her niece and other republicans fuel the hurt,” he said. “We really need to get into a deeper dialogue to try and release this pain."

"There is much more support in the community for people like Sheila than there is for people working to secure peace”, he said. “Many republicans have not benefited from jobs at Stormont and despite equality legislation and opportunities, many still have a lack of training and motivation and are too insecure to test the boundaries that were once closed,” he said. “Sheila is willing to sacrifice her own children – this shows a spiritual dimension to her mindset. There is a long Irish history of blood sacrifice, which is a bondage from one generation to the next.”

“The way forward is for people to love their enemies and do good. We need a fresh revelation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ who bore all the sins and pain of Irish people through history and rose victorious: then we can live in peace together. That is what I would pray for this lady.”