Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

A Start in Healing Wounds

July 18, 2002

The Irish Republican Army's long campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland killed civilians carelessly if not deliberately. It was certainly a walk along a path that could have led to hate-filled suicide bombers. The IRA, however, took a significant step in the right direction this week with its "sincere apologies and condolences" to civilian victims and their families. It was a much-needed moment of optimism for peace.

Several years ago, the leader of the IRA's political wing, Gerry Adams, apologized for one act, the 1987 Enniskillen bombing that killed 11 people, but the new apology is the IRA's first broad statement of remorse.

The timing was significant, five days before the anniversary of Bloody Friday, an infamous day in 1972 when the IRA detonated dozens of bombs, killing nine people and injuring hundreds. The death toll on both sides during the decades of strife is about 3,600.

Some critics took issue with the scope of the IRA apology, which included only noncombatants, contending that it should have been broader. Many unionists dismissed the IRA statement as too little, too late.

It is true that the IRA has more to do. It has begun decommissioning weapons and should continue, at a faster pace. The IRA leadership also should come clean regarding its links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the narco-terrorist guerrillas. It has yet to explain what three IRA operatives jailed in Colombia were doing in guerrilla-controlled territory.

In this week's statement, however, the IRA's words seem unequivocal: "We remain totally committed to the peace process and to dealing with the challenges and difficulties which this presents." We hope it precedes equally forthright deeds of peace and healing.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|