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: â€œWeâ€™ve got to win…Weâ€™ve got to beat
somebody, and theyâ€™ve got to lose.â€ In Northern Ireland when the Troubles re-erupted again in
1968, the government went into the same mode and role of â€œwe must defeat the terrorists,â€ 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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