Source: (2003) In Nigel Biggar, ed., Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict. Expanded and updated. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. Pp. 125-153.

Statistically speaking, the “Troubles" in Northern Ireland since the late 1960s can be characterized as a “low intensity" conflict. Deaths and injuries per capita were less in those in conflicts in some countries (e.g., El Salvador and Cambodia), and more than those in other countries (e.g., Turkey and Argentina). Yet, for those who suffer directly or indirectly, pain and loss are not matters of statistical comparison on a continuum from better to worse. Their suffering is real to them and often consuming. Northern Ireland is now engaged, sometimes forwardly and sometimes more fitfully, in a peace process. It must as part of this process address the pain and loss experienced by many. In this context, Marie Smyth considers some of the issues surrounding victimhood as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland. She particularly examines questions concerning the definition and contested views of victimhood. To make this examination concrete, she surveys significant statistics related to victimization during the Troubles. Smyth then explores the role of victims in reconciliation, the possibility of a truth commission in Northern Ireland, justice and closure, and healing.