Thanks for Mike Tobin's story about Noel Cassidy's deportation case ["The Revolutionary Next Door," April 22]. It offered a real sense of the hardship nationalists suffer in British-occupied Ireland and here in the United States. It's clear that Noel was arrested, imprisoned, and forced to fight a long deportation battle solely on the word of a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the sectarian militia in the north of Ireland. The RUC has been guilty of, but never been prosecuted for, torturing prisoners, refusing to protect nationalists, and colluding with loyalist paramilitaries in the murders of nationalists--most recently that of the highly respected civil rights attorney Rosemary Nelson.
Just last week the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly endorsed (421-2) House Resolution 128 calling for the British government to launch an inquiry, totally independent of the RUC, into the murder of Nelson. On the very day that Noel Cassidy was on trial in Cleveland, the RUC was being lambasted in Washington at a hearing sponsored by the House International Relations Committee. Representatives from Amnesty International, British Irish Rights Watch, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and families who lost loved ones at the hands of the RUC gave damning testimony regarding the brutal methods and abuses of this bigoted agency.
One of the goals of the Irish peace process is to disband the RUC and create a police force that will represent the entire community. Let's hope that goal is reached soon so that others won't, like Cassidy, have to spend the better part of their lives defending themselves against crimes they never committed.
Hooked on Tectonics
The conflict in Ireland has nothing to do with religion. Yes, the British and their privileged minority living in Ireland have done their best to make it a religious issue, but it's merely a red herring. The conflict is over land, and who will rule it--the Irish or a foreign power. The British and their Orange allies have used "Catholic" as a euphemism for "Irish," because it's not as easy to identify a person of ethnic Irish ancestry as it is to identify other ethnic groups; so they use religion to identify ethnicity. Saying the IRA is predominantly Catholic sounds like saying the Iranian army is predominantly Muslim. The true division in Ireland is between those who believe the nation's boundary was drawn when the glaciers receded at the end of the Ice Age and those who believe the Colossus to the east should keep Ireland as a colony, with all the bigotry and discrimination that has gone with it for eight centuries.
Stephen J. Byrne
Some Racist-Protesting Etiquette
Having about an hour to kill before game time on Opening Day, I had an opportunity to stand and listen to Native Americans and their protest. One would think that such a vocal group would have more content to its message than to claim the winner of the 1995 World Series was the team with the most racist logo. That did get a smile. The best line of the day, though, was from the guy who claimed that the state of Cleveland is a laughingstock and an embarrassment throughout the country. Last time I checked, there were still only fifty states and Cleveland was not among them.
Don't think the fans were much better. Those who stood and commented face-to-face with the protesters were few and far between. Most that I saw waited until they walked past the protesters before shouting a comment and continuing on. Come on now, if you must confront someone, at least do it standing in front of them. Walking past and then yelling "Get a life" or giving out a "woo-woo-woo" is pretty much a cowardly thing to do. Though most seem to think that the name and mascot aren't racist, yelling "Go home to your reservation" or "Back to your teepee" is.
As an objective bystander, both sides would look much better if they were better informed and acted more like adults than children.
Manson Exonerated in Shootings
Following the recent tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, it's now time for the media to lead a crusade on who is to blame for the paths these boys chose.
It is interesting to read the papers and watch every channel on television blaming everything from video games to music. The music thing bothers me. To say that music influenced these kids is ridiculous; every time a minor in this country commits a crime of this magnitude or less, media always report what type of music the kids listened to. And if you haven't noticed by now, it's always centered on Marilyn Manson.
Wake up, people! What we have here is a group of people picking on an artist because of how he chooses to display his art--because he is different. That is flat out discrimination. We never hear about the kids who listen to other types of music and act out similar forms of violence. What Manson sings about is his right, and it is protected by the First Amendment.
I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, and the same was said about Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Alice Cooper. But this type of high school massacre didn't happen then. It's the isolation and obvious lack of parental guidance/attention that is the real problem. Nothing can influence your children as much you can.
The best solution to this madness our society is enduring is perhaps the easiest of all: teaching our children, educating ourselves, being a part of one another's lives, and loving. We owe it to our children and our future.