Saturday 1 October 2016

Terrorists are trying to use the old tactic of divide and conquer

Published 27/07/2016 | 02:30

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured speaking at a rally in Roanoke, Virginia, has been stoking up resentments in the USA. Photo: Sara D Davis/Getty
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured speaking at a rally in Roanoke, Virginia, has been stoking up resentments in the USA. Photo: Sara D Davis/Getty

It is difficult to imagine a more unstable time in recent world history. Political upheaval and an unprecedented spate of horrendous terror attacks are eating away at the bonds that unite.

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The generations after World War II understood the value of peace and security. They built bonds instead of extending borders. Through dialogue and diplomacy, they discussed difficulties instead of rushing into a knee-jerk response to every crisis.

This allowed understanding and trust to develop, as consultation enabled compromise and coordination when approaching problems.

However, many of those who observed the horrors of war and thus reverently believed in consensus have now passed on.

Today, countries in Europe, and indeed further afield, are lacking in leaders with a true understanding of the fragility of peace.

Terrorists will seek to unpick the knots secured by years of shared sacrifice and experience.

The old story of divide and conquer crops up again and again. The tried and the trusted is thrown overboard and instead we have lurches to the left and right, which produce extremes.

The crash or downturn alienated many as the centre failed to hold. The wealthy became more so and those outside the circle of fortune foundered.

Italy, Spain, Holland, France, and even Germany are all facing some form of political upheaval.

Over in the US, the hot breath of Donald Trump is blowing on the embers of resentment, and who knows what will emerge?

Building walls and creating new levels of distrust will not make for a more secure or stable world.

We need to return to reasoned and respectful argument based on mutual interest as opposed to retreating into bunkers.

As a child, my grandfather got me to snap a twig, then he put a bundle of them together and ask me to try again.

I was flummoxed, but that's a luxury we don't have today.

M M O'Brien

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin

State must deport terror suspects

I applaud Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on the stance she has taken in relation to a man suspected of terrorism, who was recently deported to Jordan.

Ms Fitzgerald is absolutely correct to regard herself as being under an obligation, first and foremost, to protect Irish citizens. This case involved a "suspected Isil facilitator".

It is easy to see why Amnesty International has lost most of its credibility in the present day if Colm O'Gorman's article (Irish Independent, July 25) is taken as representing that organisation's viewpoint. Mr O'Gorman criticises the State for writing to the man in question and giving him a number of days to voluntarily leave the country. And then, when he did not, having the effrontery to deport him.

Yet, when one thinks about it, the State had a limited number of choices open to it. It could act as it did. Or it could take the chance that the presence of this man would hopefully not result in terror or violence being visited on Irish or foreign citizens.

Mr O'Gorman must know that there are cases where guilty parties are known to the authorities but evidence capable of standing up in court may be lacking.

And even of cases where guilty parties may not indeed be known, but strong reasons for serious doubts have arisen.

Mr O'Gorman places the so-called human rights of a suspected terrorist above and beyond the rights of Irish men, women and children.

What has been achieved by this man's deportation, he asks. Well, obviously, a reduced likelihood of a terrorist incident involving this man is the answer - it's not exactly rocket science, Colm!

One smiles at the muddled thinking behind Mr O'Gorman's verbiage whilst thanking our lucky stars that we have a clear-thinking, rational Justice Minister to protect the citizens of the nation.

Colm McElroy

Santry, Dublin 9

Allardyce's Limerick learning curve

When Big Sam Allardyce, the new England manager, was learning the ropes as a young football manager, he came to take up employment here in Ireland, at 'lowly' Limerick.

I read much later, when he was being sought by several top clubs in England, that his best apprenticeship and learning experience was at Limerick, which, he said, was so broke that he and his team went door-to-door, collecting funds to keep the show on the road.

That was tough management, he said, yet his time there allowed him to develop his own strategies for looking after a club.

"A big head is not a requirement," he quipped.

Let us wish him luck.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Michelle Obama for US president

Why not a black woman like Michelle Obama for the US presidency? She has all the qualifications - a good speech writer and legal background, etc.

Hillary Clinton has too much 'baggage'.

Ian Hester

Fourmilehouse, Co Roscommon

'New politics' as usual?

I see Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar is giving local councillors a €4,000 pay boost.

Are they part of the privileged few who will vote in the forthcoming Fine Gael leadership race?

Is this 'new politics' with a stroke through it?

John P Masterson

Carrickane, Co Cavan

Lesson learned for the GAA

May I congratulate the Gaelic Players' Association in getting their fair share on funding, I hope, from the GAA. They have shown a steely determination in dealing with the GAA over many years in the face of much hostility and they now deserve their just rewards.

Let's hope that in the future the GAA will learn from this experience and be all the more open for it.

Paul Doran

Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Blackboard bungle

Is the prospect of teachers who are not up to the job being struck off (Irish Independent, July 25) perhaps a case of getting caned because you are not able?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Irish Independent

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