I've thought long and hard about actually posting this, but then I thought 'fuck it, it's my blog and anyone who takes offence clearly doesn't understand who I am'.
Seeing as today is 11/9, it seems to be popular to write reminiscing posts about the terrorist attacks on New York. Seeing as I spend quite a bit of time there it would seem logical to follow suit, but instead I actually want to address a deeper issue.
You see, growing up into my early teens and first getting an understanding of the way the world worked, I actively wanted mainland USA to experience terrorism.
Because 'they', to my mind, were inflicting it on me.
Full of righteous indignation - in a way only a 13 year old can be - I would've had one thought had the Twin Towers attacks happened then. I would've thought 'about bloody time'. Let me explain....
I grew up constantly in fear of the IRA and the numerous bombings of innocent people that they committed (I don't wish to enter into a discussion on the relative rights and wrongs of the time, this is just from the perspective of someone growing up then). I distinctly remember the time a huge armoured military truck drove down the centre of town with a large claw on top of it, ripping out rubbish bins from the pavement because of an IRA bomb threat.
(The knock on effect of that is that an entire generation of people don't use bins because they're not used to them, and just litter the streets instead. I think for 15 years I didn't see a single bin anywhere.)
The IRA (with the tacit approval of the then Taoiseach) received the majority of their arms from the Libyans, but they bought those weapons with a mixture of organised crime in Ireland (North and South) and - significantly - from donations abroad.
Those donations abroad came mainly from an organisation based in the USA called NORAID which simply collected money for the 'humanitarian' struggle to unite Ireland and funded the IRA instead. I'm sure many people gave money believing it would be used for humanitarian grounds, but the facts are that money from the US funded and prolonged the terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland.
So as a teenager I steadfastly believed that all that was required was for the US to understand what it felt like to live in fear of being blown up simply for being a citizen of a country (I mean, I couldn't even vote or influence the parliamentary process, but I was regarded as a 'legitimate target' by the IRA), and maybe they'd mellow a bit, reign in the IRA a bit. In some ways that happened, but sadly so much else did too.
The Patriot Act, the invasion of Iraq (on the basis that one of the almost exclusively Saudi bombers once went on holiday there) and Guantanamo Bay. Go Democracy! (Sadly literally.)
As an adult I don't believe anyone should suffer the effects or terrorism, yet I also understand why it occurs. I understand why the IRA continued their fight, I understand why Palestinians resist the removal of any chance of an independent state, I even understand why devout Muslims feel the need to resort to violence to make themselves heard. I don't agree with it/them, but I understand why.
But as it was shown in the conflict nearest to me, political solutions can be found. Yes, nutters live on - but they rely on implicit support from the general populace. At the end of the day, what the vast majority of people want is a fair crack at a decent life for themselves and their family. They don't want to live in fear. In every conflict such as these there becomes a tipping-point where the majority turn on the militants, where they trust those in power - not much, but just enough - to keep them safe.
It will only come from talking to our enemies. It will only come from compromise. It will only come via political means.
And on today of all days, I think this should be said.
Sorry to go all serious on you. Next week:- fart jokes.