Series to remind us of absurdity of violence

Series to remind us of absurdity of violence

It is ironic but deeply valuable that the majority of the books and films, irrespective of source, dealing with the North’s Troubles have a common theme.

Everything from Jim Sheridan’s The Boxer from 1997 to Seamus Mallon’s wonderful memoir, A Shared Home Space, from Anna Burns’ Booker winner Milkman to Paul Brady’s The Island, has a clear view of the pointless absurdity of violence.

The opposite view, despite all the corpses, glorifies those who resort to violence to achieve political ends, is expressed with vigour in everything from graphic murals to hate-fest bonfires.

A new BBC documentary series will remind us all of those divides.

The series shows Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness’ links to terrorism, links that will not surprise anyone who has taken even the vaguest interest in this tragedy.

Reaching a level understanding of our history, especially one so inflamed and unfinished, is extremely important but that project always carries a risk.

Just as was seen when the power of the Catholic Church faded after one revelation after another; history is a force as much as a list of events.

Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History will unfortunately be used by a minority to justify unbending tribalism suggesting they have learned nothing from 30 years of carnage.

How much better it would be if they followed the example of the peaceful majority, Paisley and McGuinness too, and accepted the absurdity of their extremism.

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