The Never Ending War: The Provisional IRA 1968-2000
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There is something fundamentally illogical about war. There is something about a conflict which defies the normal state of human existence, a state defined not by destroying things but by amassing them, by improving an individuals or groups standing. It takes a special set of circumstances or ideals to make a normal person stand up and volunteer to risk their lives for the s~ke of their country or their leaders or their ideals. It takes an even more unusual set of circumstances to make a human being stand up to fight for an ideal in a conflict where there is little chance of victory. However even more perplexing from a logical standpoint is the position of the freedom fighter, rebel or terrorist. They seek to better their condition by endangering everything they have ever known. These individuals risk their neighborhoods and cities, families and friends and do so often knowing there is not not a direct payoff or a likely victory. They fight. for an ideal, a belief that things can be bettered through their actions and improved to such an extent that their lives are worth losing for it, even willing to condemn their children and their futures to the conflict all in the pursuit of an ideal. The story of the Republican movement in Ireland is an example of just such a situation where individuals were willing to place everything they had now in jeopardy for something that may come at a later date. Why does the Republican movement in Ireland generate so much interest though, with dozens of books, movies, documentaries and songs? Today just under six million people live in Ireland, most in the South. The country itself is roughly the size of the state of Indiana and it produces little in terms of high technology or natural resources. Little would change internationally if Ireland was to become a single country tomorrow. So why the fascination with the IRA? What is it about the Irish Republican Army which catches peoples imaginations?