Source: (-0001) CRJ Paper Series. Boston: Center for Restorative Justice, Suffolk University. Downloaded 1 December 2005.

My original intention was to come here and speak about the role of the terrorist ex-prisoners in reconciliation and restorative justice in Northern Ireland. I will do that, but given the events of September 11th I will shift my talk a bit to address the context that America is facing, and to share some of our own experience with terrorism. It seems to me that whenever there is any sort of threat to the state, the government of that country goes immediately to the adversarial mode: “We’ve got to win...We’ve got to beat somebody, and they’ve got to lose.” In Northern Ireland when the Troubles re-erupted again in 1968, the government went into the same mode and role of “we must defeat the terrorists,” and they saw the defeat of terrorism as the state winning and the terrorist losing. Just as the court system is based on the idea that someone must win and someone must lose, as the Judge [Merrigan] so eloquently pointed out, this discourages the offender from ever taking responsibility for what they have done. (excerpt)

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