A consortium of Northern Ireland victims groups has praised musician Bob Geldof after he described those engaged in terrorism as “cowardly”.
Sir Bob, speaking to the BBC’s Nolan Show, said he wouldn’t equate a bomber who blew himself up and an ordinary person in the street who was blown up in his “world view”.
The songwriter and activist told terrorists: “Give it a rest. Grow up”.
“When the gunman gives up the gun, then suddenly he is a man of peace,” he added. “What about the people who never picked up a gun. Just put the guns down and engage in the process as an earlier generation of very brave people did. How else is this going to resolve itself?”
He said: “It’s not human not to see the other person’s point of view. Isn’t it more important that your kids have a good education that you have a decent life about going forward in the future.
“It can’t be about something as preposterous as a flag. To nail your identity to a piece of cloth that has three colours or four colours. Do us a favour. It gets tiresome and things get to a fever pitch and you are waiting for things to explode.
“I feel very awkward talking about this because it’s not my place to. There will be people saying he doesn’t know what he’s on about. You’re right, I don’t live it.
When asked about victims, Sir Bob said he wouldn’t equate a bomber who blew himself up and an ordinary person in the street.
“I despise that stuff,” he said. “Nationalism, terrorism, killing other people. I don’t think you need help in understanding why killing another person for some spurious political end isn’t loathsome, cowardly ultimately. The guys who are killing and the guys who are bombing, you must remove them from the picture. But it doesn’t help in removing them that you vest so much emotional interest in your symbols because it leads to the guys with the bullets and the bombs.
“You are giving a tacit emotional support and they are slightly emotionally imbalanced clearly if they feel it is alright to kill a child, a man. Why would you possibly do that over something that is not worth the death of a human being.
Innocent Victims United (a consortium of 21 victims groups), which claims to represent around 11,000 victims and survivors of terrorism and ‘other Troubles related violence’ has welcomed comments made by Sir Bob.
Kenny Donaldson of the group said: “Innocent victims and survivors of Terrorism will find Bob Geldof’s comments refreshing. He spoke as the man on the street knows it.
“Bob Geldof’s comments are representative of the overwhelming majority of the population.
“Sadly in Northern Ireland and further afield there are people who should know better but who have bought in hook, line and sinker to the revisionist propaganda of the Republican Movement. Mr Geldof’s comments are based in a grounding of humanity, there was and never will be a justification for taking the life of someone in the furtherance of a so-called political objective. Terrorism in the Northern Ireland context was and is criminally based, often with ethnic and sectarian motivations present.
“Bob Geldof has articulated what a victim is and also what a terrorist is. Others need to follow by his example and that of the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism,” said Mr Donaldson.
Bob Geldof and his band The Boomtown Rats will be playing in the Ulster Hall on Friday night 8pm.