I know very little about Colombia so can’t endorse its regime or culture beyond this vote but for that issue, I would be proud to be Colombian.
I have been ashamed of Northern Ireland since the Belfast Agreement.
This feeling lifts occasionally, for example, around the behaviour of our football team and fans but the baseline is set at shame.
Speaking subjectively the worst thing that happened in NI was the Poppy Day Massacre because that deprived me of my mother. Speaking objectively the worst thing that happened was the majority vote for the Belfast Agreement.
A small number of people murdered my mother. A large number of people voted to attack justice and compromise the criminal justice system and let terrorists out of jail.
The Poppy Day bomb did not signal a widespread lapse of morality. The Belfast Agreement did.
It was so often said at the time that the release of prisoners was difficult. That would not have mattered. It was immoral and should have been impossible.
At the time of the agreement the mantra was that it was for peace. Either the IRA was committed to peace or it wasn’t. If it was really committed to peace, no agreement was needed. If it was not, then the agreement was caving in to the threat of terrorism.
We are supposed to laud the “peace”. Paying protection money to thugs to stop them trashing your business may stop those attacks but you do not have law and order. Similarly paying off terrorists not to commit terror does not give you peace.
One of the slogans of today is that “we don’t want to go back to the bad old days”.
We have unrepentant terrorists in government, who currently fail to disclose to police the details of terrorism in which they were involved or know about.
We have criminal empires that appear to operate with immunity.
We had an IRA godfather/Deputy First Mister presenting earlier this year to a victims conference.
We now have the wife of a UFF commander on the Victims Forum.
By law a terrorist injured by his own bomb is on par with his innocent victim. Thugs don’t even have to pretend to repudiate their terrorist past and unequivocally state that it was morally wrong and in no way justified before huge sums of public money are flung in their direction
The most recent example I have seen is Charter NI with its unsavoury links. We have a lot of disgusting terrorist murals with little condemnation from our political representatives. These are the bad old days!
To augment pandering to SF/IRA, there seems to be a strong drive at the moment to make the UDA acceptable. To unionist political representatives I say, “what the UDA did was not in my name. Cosying up to them, or even just turning a blind eye when others do, is not in my name either”.
I have no doubt that the Belfast Agreement has made the world a more dangerous place and that encouragement has been given to terrorists and terrorism worldwide. The message being, make sure you murder enough people.
Unfortunately, there may be a big backlash in response to this vote in Colombia but I believe that the world in general is safer for the stand against terror and its appeasement.
I can imagine the pressure the people were under. Including pressure from people keen to export NI appeasement. Colombians should be proud they didn’t buckle.
• Aileen Quinton’s mother Alberta was murdered in the 1987 Enniskillen bomb