Postbag: Give peace a go

IT IS sad that the optimism shown by the majority of Palestinians at the democratic election of Hamas has generally not been matched by the international community. Physical geography reminds us that continents and countries were created by powerful and

IT IS sad that the optimism shown by the majority of Palestinians at the democratic election of Hamas has generally not been matched by the international community.

Physical geography reminds us that continents and countries were created by powerful and violent forces of nature. History also points to many occasions whereby the formation of nations has not been without similar forces of power and violence. One looks to not only the creation of the great empires of the world but also their demise to see that the birth pangs of nations rarely occur without terrorism of one sort or another.

In Britain's own nation-story we witness open revolt, civil war and the use of terror in shaping the nation to which we belong today.

In more recent times, British occupiers became the subject of violence from organisations such as the Stern Gang and Irgun, determined at the establishment of a free and democratic State of Israel.


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On our own soil terrorists maimed and killed in the name of creating a united Ireland and driving "the Brits" into the Irish Sea. In the midst of that violence, few would have thought that change was possible, yet our present realities tell a different story.

Rather than sinking into pessimism and intransigence, maybe the time is right to talk. The opportunity may now exist for a fresh and tentative move towards a more honest and realistic assessment of the problems and - by inference - a more hopeful chance of solution.

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The alternative is to allow yet more 'tectonic' violence to blight the people of the Middle East and the fear it engenders to hold captive the rest of the world. Maybe a failure to listen now, by all parties, will result in a unique opportunity being lost. The consequences of that loss will be a continuation of the cyclical violence so alarmingly portrayed in Spielberg's recent film.

Fr PAUL MADDISON, Needingworth Road, St Ives

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