I tried to post this on Slugger O’Toole an hour ago. Seems a shame not to publish it. The nature of posting on Slugger (his gaffe, his rules) and Czar (my gaffe, my rules) is that I am somewhat more restrained on Slugger. But the piece that follows is as written for Slugger. If I had been writing this for Czar, it would be slightly different.
There are incidents which can be called Conflict.
There are incidents which can never be called Conflict.
The problem with Conflict Resolution is that it thinks in terms of a Timeline of Headline events.
The Conflict Resolutionists dont really know the names behind a headline. Whether it was Bloody Sunday, Kingsmills, the mortar attack on Newry RUC station, the professionals wont really know the names.
Many ordinary people think in terms of names of sons, daughters, husbands, wives. Sooner or later many who died childless will be totally forgotten. At some point beyond 2050, people looking up a family tree will be surprised to learn that a great uncle from Sheffield died in a booby trap in South Armagh or a cousin of their granny died in the La Mon Hotel or the brother in law of a great aunt was abducted and tortured to death in the North Belfast.
For young people who think its all over….well they are wrong. Just as I was sitting on the stairs and listening to two elderly neighbours scare the life out of my mother with tales of the 1920s. And just as I was wrong to think that jumpers for goalposts in Woodvale, Ormeau, Botanic whatever was ok.
Giving out pensions to these combatants is simply wrong.
A proportion of the deaths, injuries, perjury might (a stretch for some) might be called “Conflict” but not all were “Conflict”. Some were just blatant cruelty of the worst kind.
Conflict is in some DNA.
Cruelty is in some DNA.
Pensions blurs the difference between the two and is an encoragement for those who will do it all again down the line. Just a different generation.
Did we all suffer?
No….like the man who stood up at the end of a Slugger sponsored Platform for Change event about five yeras ago. Responding to a presentation by cross-community women victims, he said “I wish I had known about this”
At the time, I thought it was a sad comment.
But actually that man was an authentic voice of the Troubles. As much as anyone living in Short Strand or Dee Street.
So I dont really agree with the point made by “Korhomme” in another part of this thread. We did not ALL suffer. Many of us did…in greater or lesser extent….and while it would be an insult to good decent people …the good living quiet people to see combatants get a “pension”, then I see no real alternative to giving a lump some to everyone. Even the “I wish I had known” folks in Donaghadee and Malone Road.
I seriously submit that £100 for every year as an adult from 1969 to 1998 and £50 for every year as a minor.
Id happily take £2,950.