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by Timothy W. Shire
This past weekend saw the largest single casualty count from a terrorist attack in the past thirty years of continuing violence in the tiny province of Northern Ireland. News reporters like to refer to this sort of thing as “senseless” violence, it is unlikely that anyone reading this article can image “sensible” violence and most of us simply find the lack of civil behaviour to be far beyond anything we can understand. It seemed to me that it would be appropriate to try and shed some light on the so-called “troubles” because the situation in Northern Ireland exceeds several lifetimes and yet appears incomprehensible.
For many years I was a history teacher and my favourite course was grade ten history, as I began each semester marching armies back and forth across Europe, helping students grasp the turbulent history of the continent as it actually shaped the nature of the culture and political structures in place here today. In the mid seventies I was principal in a fine community on the West side of Last Mountain Lake called Imperial. It was not a full time commitment to administration and one of the subjects I did was my favourite history ten.
Now it is important to understand that the students attending Imperial School were a fine bunch and I was especially proud of the grade ten class. They loved history and much time was spent doing papers and debating the various issues as we came across them. Many high school classes are more interested in just getting through the course and have a lower level of passion then my keeners in Imperial. We had launched into the “Irish Problem” as