Politicians will always blame someone else
IN his interview with Eamonn Mallie in the new BBC documentary, Ian Paisley's recently acquired mask of sweetness and reason slipped when he accused the then Irish government of provoking the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, which claimed 33 lives. "They brought that on themselves", he declared.
Likewise, in a radio interview in December, a similar mask slipped when Gerry Adams blamed two RUC officers for their own murders by the IRA in 1989.
There is a symmetry in this victim blaming, for it encapsulates the fundamental problem of Northern Ireland's divided society.
Each extreme heaps all the moral responsibility on the other and never admits any culpability for the problem.
The lesson of both Paisley and Adams, now presenting themselves as cuddly elder statesmen, is that there is a high price to be paid for surrendering our individual freedom of thought and natural inclination to live in peace with our neighbours to the toxic embrace of people like them.
Director, Humanist Association of Northern Ireland