Tonight Lou and Brian take a stab at Jeri Taylor, executive producer and writer for TNG, DS9 and especially Voyager. We take on some viewer mail, which is included in this posting, about terrorism in Star Trek and Back to the Future III. Open this post to read more.
Tonight’s Rule of Acquisition: # “.“
Paul’s letter about Terrorism in Star Trek and the IRA.
I apologise for the lengthy email but you asked for it, lol.
I heard you on show #204 asking me to send you more info on the IRA (which stands for the Irish Republican Army). I will not profess to be a authority on this subject as I was subjected to the British propaganda of the time, i.e. the tabloid press. I was born in 1965 and was only young when this was going on and only really understood what was happening in the late 1980’s.
Please realise that this is a very basic understanding and is my opinion only. I am sure any Irish listeners will give you a different opinion or at least a more accurate one.
Please forgive me if you know this but first of all lets start with some geography. Ireland is split into two countries. The southern part is Ireland, home of the Irish, Guinness expensive pubs and some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet. The sort of people that a lot of Americans think they are related to.
The northern part is called Northern Ireland (obviously) and is part of the United Kingdom along with Scotland, Wales and England.
The full title of the UK is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”
In the 1920’s the IRA was formed to (amongst other reasons) kick the British out of Ireland (sound similar to the USA). This they did by threatening people, acts of violence and even killing people. By 1950’s this had subsided but gained momentum again by the 1970’s. By this time the IRA (in various guises) had become more of a terrorist movement being trained by Palestinians and Lybians in the use of explosives. There were also suggestions that they were being funded by “well meaning Americans” via donations to the cause.
They started blowing up British military and police targets but then moved on to civilian targets claiming they were IRA opponents. This would, unfortunately too often, take out innocent civilians as well. They made the mafia look good by comparison as the mafia would only take out their intended victims.
In 1979 they realised that the British government and Royal family were not being persuaded to leave Northern Ireland so they planted a bomb in a fishing boat killing Lord Louis Mountbatten (The Uncle of Prince Phillip) and three others including Mountbatten’s grandson.
On 12th October 1984 they planed there most daring operation to date by blowing up the Grand Hotel in Brighton (which is on the south coast of England below London). This was were the Conservative government of the time was holding their yearly Party conference and was where Margaret Thatcher and many senior members of parliament were staying.
Although Mrs Thatcher narrowly escaped injury, five people were killed, including two high-profile members of the Conservative Party, and 31 were injured.
This was the first attack on a British government during peace time since Guy Fawkes tried and failed to blow up The Houses of Parliament in 1605 giving us a yearly celebration called Guy Fawkes night (or Bonfire Night). This is were we burn effigies of Guy Fawkes and set off fireworks to simulate the explosion of Parliament that never happened (go figure).
The attack in Brighton was not a smart move as they increased the governments resolve never to deal with terrorists.
“The Troubles” (as they were trivially called over here) continued into the 1990’s but there were no more attacks on mainland Britain until 1993 with the attack in Warrington (which you pronounced correctly by the way, well done you). This was a bomb that was placed in a “trash can” and was designed to kill innocent civilians. The IRA did give a warning to the police that a bomb had been planted but there is a lot of conspiracy theories about whether it was sent late, or received but not acted on, deliberately to put the IRA in a bad light.
The result was 2 children killed and a massive backlash against the IRA. It was this that set the government into talking to the IRA in secret and lead to a the Good Friday peace agreement in 1998. The IRA disbanded and destroyed all of its’ weapons and it’s senior members became Members of Parliament in the British government. Controversial but necessary to the agreement.
There have been no more attacks since that time, other than very small groups pretending to be politically motivated and calling them revenge attacks for opposition attacks.
Over all this time a lot of people have been killed on both sides with the British government not being innocent be any means.
As with any conflict or civil war there are no winners but for the last 15 years there has been “peace”.
In my opinion you never negotiate with terrorists but in this case it worked to gain peace. When looked at from some Irish eyes they are still being occupied by the Brits.
And as has been said before one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
I have tried to be impartial in this summary but being one of the nationalities involved inevitably gives me a biased view.
Just as a last note, there was a rumour about the IRA planning to kidnap Prince William just after he was born. This would have been a disaster for the IRA if it had actually happened as they would have been hunted down into extinction (in my opinion). But it did make a good plot for the film Patriot Games with Harrison Ford and Sean Bean. The members of the Royal family in the book of the film were Prince Charles and Princess Diana but were changed in the film to the Queens cousin, even if they did look like Charles and Diana.
Hope this helps fill in some of the detail.
Links Discussed In This Show Were:
Trek Mate Family Forum post, Back to the Future III.
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