Letters to the Editor
"What 'principle' can there be when the sole
criterion for determining an individual's prison status (i.e., 'political
prisoner' or 'common criminal') is whether the accused was convicted before
or after March 1, 1976. (Those convicted before March 1 are 'political';
after that date, they are considered 'common criminals.')"
"There are none so deaf as those who will
not listen, so may I please say a few words on behalf of the English presence
in Northern Ireland. First, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom,
and the majority of the people in Northern Ireland wish to remain part
of it. Furthermore, democracy is what the British soldiers are supporting.
Democracy is not perfect, but it does mean governing by the wishes of
the majority. Second, the British soldiers are not in Northern Ireland
to kill anybody. They are there to protect British people against murderers
and other criminals, whether Catholic or Protestant."
"During this period of emotional irrationalism
generated by the suicide-martyrdom of Bobby Sands, your accurate appraisal
of the "bleak testimonial" (May 6) was a welcome respite from the chronic
rantings and wailings that infected the news media in general. Sands and
his followers were apostles of violence and terrorism. As such, they merit
only the opposite of sanctification."
"The May 3 editorial is probably the sickest
thing I have ever read. Where the hell was the Globe with all its concern
and advice when my sons were sent to Vietnam where one of them was killed
(in a country he knew nothing about and cared less)? But that was America's
war and that made it alright. Now you are telling the Irish to listen
to John Hume! John takes care of John and the IRA is the People, whether
you like it or not."
"After having stomped on Ireland, Scotland, Africa,
and most of Asia, the British are now posing as sainted heroes upholding
the principles of democracy in Northern Ireland. The situation there is
not 10 days old or 10 years old. It is 10 hundred years old and is the
direct result of British incompetence, stupidity, and willful wrongdoing..."
"Let the British government follow the example
of French President de Gaulle as to how he set a withdrawal policy from
Algeria in the post-World War II period. It was a difficult decision,
but de Gaulle was determined to make it. To his everlasting credit he
was successful. The world did not end when the French withdrew from Algeria.
The world will not end when the British withdraw from Ireland. The world,
however, will be a better place for the Irish people at that time."
"As a British visitor to the United States, I have
been dismayed at how recent events in Northern Ireland have been portrayed
in this country. Northern Ireland is as integral a part of the United
Kingdom as Virginia is of the United States, for the very good reason
that the majority of its (Irish) inhabitants wish it to be so. For the
past dozen years, the province has been subjected to a reign of terror
by an organization that, although claiming to be the heir of Irish nationalism
of years gone by, is disavowed by the government in Dublin, defies the
moral teachings of the Catholic Church and has no support from any responsible
quarter in Ireland, north or south."
"In the Irish Republic, prisoners convicted of
politically motivated offenses are separately housed and do enjoy a special
status. Neither violence nor sympathy for the IRA has grown. Britain knows
this but insists on going its own stiff-necked way. Why? Fear of Orange
violence-the 'blackmail' mounted by Bobby Sands is nothing compared with
70 years of Loyalist threats-explains a good deal. Contempt for and lack
of understanding of the Irish probably account for even more. As the editorial
implies, the British would like to forget the history behind their present
predicament. The truth is that they are now making the same mistakes they
made in 1916 and on countless other occasions in their dealings with Ireland.
They deserve what they get."
"Bobby Sands was supported by the great mass of Irish republicans in
Ireland. Furthermore, the millions of Irishmen around the world whose
ancestors have been forced by English oppression to emigrate from their
homeland overwhelmingly endorse what Sands stood for and the republican
movement. Our support is no less strong than is the support, say, of American
Jews for Israel."
"The Irish are a dignified race. Irish people all over the world have
shown dignity and courage. That dignity and courage has been tested in
recent weeks when a British Government allowed Bobby Sands, M.P., and
other prisoners in Long Kesh to die. The Irish people have remained dignified
in the face of British terror tactics. Irish-Americans, far from romanticizing,
have shared the pain of their friends in Ireland and have shown compassion
and courage in the face of British lies and propaganda."
"I cannot understand, however, why the British permit
the hunger strikers to simply die without doing all they can to keep them
alive by force feeding. If Mrs. Thatcher lacks the compassion to help
keep a fellow human being alive, she should at least have the intelligence
and imagination to realize that by saving those lives, she could defuse
the entire issue, to Britain's advantage."