1997 Onwards -
Below is the text of Sir John Major’s speech made at the Children for Peace Dinner, held at the Granada Studios in Manchester on Friday 23rd June 2006.
SIR JOHN MAJOR:
[First section Sir John Major thanked everyone for coming and for Wendy and Colin for organising. Sir John Major explained why he was involved, he recalled the day he heard that Tim and Johnathan were murdered, and it nearly ended the peace process, but it didn’t because others might be killed.]
In the interim I met Colin/Wendy and have seen their extra-
They set up this Charity -
They built a dedicated Peace Centre.
They set up a range of learning programmes to meet the needs of 5-
We will never end terror by force of arms or policing alone. We have to attack causes, win minds as well as territories.
That’s what the Trust does: its learning programmes are focussed on understanding causes of conflict and resolving them peacefully.
Governments can try and change attitudes but they need help: organisations like Children for Peace.
Terror is at its weakest when the Community turns against it -
When the Peace Process began in the early 90s, Albert Reynolds and I both shared the view that terrorism could not prevail and that the better aspects of human nature would be bound to win. I won’t reproduce all the many twists and turns of the Peace Process but let me simply say I believe we are nearly there and we need to build on what has been achieved in Northern Ireland. That is one of the reasons, of course, why the Peace Centre is so important although its remit is wider.
Over the years, we have become used to Irish terror but now the threat is much wider.
Terrorism is not new: it has been with us since ancient times; but now, like the economy, terror is globalising. Terrorism is Al Qaeda; Hezbollah, ETA, IRA, Hamas, Tamil Tigers, Kashmiri and Punjabi Separatists; Pattani United Liberation Organisation; GIA … the list goes on.
Groups that are secretive, diverse, with their money, men and weapons hidden as effectively as their minds are closed.
Today, terrorism is a threat we can’t ignore. It is not targeted only against the Governments of the West. Think of the bombs in Bali. Or Jerusalem. Or the school siege in Moscow. Or Sarin gas in Tokyo. Or atrocities in Kashmir. The signature of mass-
Most people find violence abhorrent and yet, terrorism has never been short of apologists. Over many years, it has grown bolder and more deadly. Many nations have suffered.
And for no purpose because terrorism has not been effective in the post-
When Spain, Portugal and Greece dumped Fascism -
When Communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe -
When Apartheid ended -
Nor have the IRA gained from terror. Their political end is unrealised and their Community has seen through them.
Terrorism can claim none of these victories -
What is the purpose of terror? It varies. For many Terrorist Groups the predominant aim is to radicalise Islam; to set Muslim against non-
In Northern Ireland, the intent was to absorb the North into a united Ireland. Always, the effect is to create chaos.
And it does. The economic impact of terror is to de-
So, whatever reservations there may be about how this War on Terror is being fought -
Terrorism and democracy are fundamentally opposed. They cannot co-
The oxygen for terrorism is hatred: hatred of specific countries and their values or -
In considering terror, one question must be asked: can a war against terror be won at all? Is it possible that such a shadowy concept as terrorism can be identified, isolated and defeated?
My answer is -
So, if democracy can win, how can it do so?
The answer to that question is complex. It involves action against existing terror groups now, and political measures to prevent such groups obtaining support today and spreading their contagion tomorrow.
To win, all those nations threatened by terrorism need to co-
We must accept we cannot win by military power alone, but concede that we cannot win without it.
But these measures are simply policing action against existing terror groups. We need to know -
The answers to these questions are not always palatable -
In much of the world ideological radicalisation has fed the perception that the religion of Islam is under attack. Al Qaeda assert this every day. Radicals use this belief as a recruiting sergeant to fuel their cause. Events such as the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have fed this perception as has the failure to bring the Middle East Peace Process -
The Radicals case is crude propaganda, and wrong, but it is effective. To rebut it, democracy must lessen the chance of demagogues exploiting hardship to promote terrorism. They must fight for the hearts and minds of those into whose ears radical poison is poured. Words alone will not do: they must accept obligations that illustrate the morality of democracy.
One example stands out. Our world has six billion souls. Of these six billion, one-
The rich nations do much to help -
I believe that common humanity suggests that -
In removing grievances, we cut away the resentment of the "have-
There are many reasons why the action promised by the G8 must be delivered: undermining hate campaigns is only a side issue but an important one. If we under-
Of the extra 2 billion, 97% will be in that part of the world that has an income below US $2 per day. This is not sustainable if we wish to sustain a free market in a world free of conflict. Nor is it moral.
But if the world acts early, acts now, acts out of conscience -
Over the years, terror has so unsettled the political climate that trust has gone and a lasting solution is elusive. This plays entirely into the hands of the terrorist for it gives this dispute a much wider fuse: it is used to justify terrorism elsewhere.
Sometimes, it has been difficult to see how this could ever be brought to a peaceful solution. It is depressing beyond belief -
I want to say something here about politics and terror. It is based on my own experience in dealing with the IRA.
For years, the IRA had bombed and murdered in Northern Ireland -
It took a long time -
The lesson is clear: never negotiate from fear, but never fear to negotiate. It is tempting just to denounce terrorism. But if you wish to save lives, you must sometimes engage with them as well.
That is what the Peace Centre does: why it is so vital; why it is important to continue.