The Irascible ProfessorSM
Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today

by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."... ...Martin Luther King, Jr.

Commentary of the Day - September 5, 2001:  A Disgusting Spectacle!

The Irascible Professor normally confines its commentary to issues affecting education in the United States.  However, the recent violent attempts by "loyalists" in the Ardoyne section of Belfast in Northern Ireland to keep young children from attending school are utterly contemptible, and deserve only the strongest level of condemnation.

According to news reports a convoluted disagreement over access to the Holy Cross parochial school in the Ardoyne has led to a situation where four- to eleven-year-old school girls are being terrorized on their way to school by out-of-control groups of thugs.  The children and the police officers protecting them have been pelted with rocks and pieces of paving stones.  At least four police officers and a police dog have been injured in these attacks on innocent children.

"Loyalist" sources have attempted to explain these outbursts as a "cry for help" on the part of residents of a small loyalist enclave in this largely "republican" section of Belfast who have been subjected to violence and intimidation from "republican" factions.  The history of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland is far too complicated for anyone to be able to say who is right and who is wrong.  However, for any group to carry out attacks on children to make their political points, no matter how valid they may be, is cowardly beyond comprehension.

These disturbances have not been clashes between the "orange" and the "green".  They are nothing more than the actions by the "yellow" against children who are too young to understand the issues and two weak to be able to defend themselves.  Peter Morrison's photograph in the BBC news report on the latest attack clearly shows the terror on the face of a young schoolgirl who is being carried to safety by her father.  How is it possible for anyone to justify this?

Not since the desegregation battles of the 1950's and 1960's, has the IP seen such cowardly behavior exhibited by supposedly civilized people against school children.  Certainly there must be individuals on both sides in Northern Ireland who have the conscience and the courage to stand up and say "Enough"!

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© 2001 Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - All rights reserved.