Hope, Love and, perhaps, Justice

The news—everywhere—and suddenly I was back on Talbot Street, summer of 1974. We, my sister and I, were in Killester. Grandmother brought us to Dublin one or two times a week on the train. We were used to the city. We knew the beauty but we also knew of other things, other places; things to avoid.

This time, it was with a family friend. We accompanied her as she went about doing her errands for the day. The trip took us past both Barry’s store (no relation) and Guiney’s. It was late June and the clean-up was well underway—a month had passed—but even now I recall the horror in Maura’s voice as she told my sister and me what had happened.

We knew already, of course. Our grandparents sent bi-weekly bundles of papers back to Newfoundland so we knew the facts. It’s different, though, we you experience it first-hand. The horror, the fear, the anger and in the end, the grief—all become so intense; so immediate.

Who could have done this? It is so easy to resort to racial, ideological or religious labels to name the foe that lacks the courage and respect to stand before you. Even the slightest analysis, though, reveals the flaws in that reasoning. You just have to look at the victims. Bombs are indiscriminate. On Talbot Street the victims came from all walks of life. Not soldiers, just everyday people pursuing their hopes and needs.

So, too, this time: the victims are again innocents; not combatants. The aggressors, once again, invisible; hiding behind some unnamed cause that, in the end, can only be revealed as hatred for oneself and lack of concern for others.

What is it that drives people far beyond the loosely-defined borders that try and define humanity? How can some kill in the name of a cause they consider just? Most of all, how can people be so confused that randomly-chosen souls can be used as a proxy for ‘the enemy?’

Sometime during that awful, cold, dark summer the voices of the Just started coming together. The song was of love and forgiveness. It took years but, in the end, hatred was overcome and a people began to heal again. Justice, not revenge, became the goal.

Those voices are stirring already. May they be strong enough, once again, to claim the victory.

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About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
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15 Responses to Hope, Love and, perhaps, Justice

  1. Tracy says:

    The troubles have been part of my life since the start, they made me deeply sad. As a teenager, into my twenties and thirties I always wondered if one day I would be in the wrong place at the wrong time – London, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton. Things are calmer now, perhaps not perfect but nowhere near as fractious. I was in London on July 7th 2005 and in April 1992, I regularly pass the sites of those atrocities today. I hope for all our sakes that hatred in its many forms can be overcome, that the futility of fighting for causes will eventually dawn on every man, woman and child and the sanctity of life will once again be respected and honoured.

  2. We can only hope … what more is there? D

  3. jennypellett says:

    Sadly the troubles became part of our every day lives. During the ’70’s in London, threats were frequent which meant disruption was frequent. We learned to avoid tube stations, be aware of coded staff warnings in large stores in the west end, be vigilent throughout the working day. I think things are generally calmer now – is that due to better intel or have we become complacent in so short a time, I wonder.

    • Who knows? The one thing I have always hoped is that a generation managed to grow up without being exposed to the worst of it. Maybe some of this ‘eye-for-an-eye’ behavior has tapered off. Sadly, as we are finding out, it is not gone and can appear anywhere.

  4. elkement says:

    Thanks, Maurice for adding this historical perspective – we tend to forget rather quickly that this alleged “standard” level of safety should not be taken for granted.
    I read an analysis by IT security expert Bruce Schneier today to which I can relate – it was a rewrite of an article published after Sept. 11: “Keep Calm and Carry On…We need to be angry and empathize with the victims without being scared.” Otherwise the attackers would have achieved their goals.

  5. Jane Fritz says:

    Excellent post, Maurice. Having lived in London in 1968-70 and Montreal in the 1960s, I thought of both the Troubles and the FLQ. You have said it all. Hate cannot win. The good and trusting in human nature must prevail.

  6. Mary says:

    Well written – I do not see how a tiny gap toothed boy- Martin Richard, a young woman taking photos of her best friend’s husband running a marathon,-Krystle Campbell and a Boston University student- Lu Lingzi could be ‘the enemy’ to anyone. So wrong. So very sad.
    I hope you are right and that humanity does triumph over regenge but also that justice does prevail.

  7. I can’t remember a time when terrorism wasn’t around us. From being a child in the north of England (M62 coach blast, Manchester bombings), travelling to Germany and Italy and wondering about the Baader Meinhof and the Red Brigade (especially when I went to Bologna station), to working in London in the 80s, to moving to Spain with first ETA, and then of course the Madrid bombings. Even our very own alleged terrorist working on the same firm as my partner here in Gib. Just the name of the terrorist group changes. And if we think this is bad, what must it be like living in countries that seem to be in a permanent state of civil war?

  8. Pingback: “Freshly” picked from my mind…. | theseeker

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