Category: Archive

Echo Opinion: The enemy of my enemy…

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The attacks of July 7 were not, of course, Britain’s first experience with terrorism. Indeed, it was not the first time that London’s underground came under attack.
On October 30, 1883, two coordinated train bombings injured more than 70 people. The attacks were the work of William Mackey Lomasney, a native of Cincinnati and a veteran of the Union Army during the Civil War.
In the words of John Devoy, Lomasney was a “fanatic of the deepest dye.” He had traveled from America to Ireland in 1867 to join the Fenian Rising, was arrested and sent to Millbank prison, where he met Devoy and other Irish rebels.
Like many of them, Lomansey was released in 1871 and sailed back to America. But he crossed the Atlantic again in the early 1880s as a European agent for Clan na Gael, the American wing of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
Lomasney opposed an Irish-American bombing campaign in Britain, led by Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. Such “desperate acts,” he told Devoy, could not be justified and would turn public opinion against the cause of Irish freedom.
And yet, in October, 1883, Lomasney and his co-conspirators bombed the London underground. Several months later, a Fenian bomb exploded in Victoria Station. Security forces found three more bombs in railway stations before they exploded.
Eventually, William Lomasney blew himself up, by accident, while trying to attach a bomb underneath a bridge in London. But the bombing campaign he helped execute terrorized London for several years.
Lomansey had talked about launching a campaign of “bloodless terrorism” in Britain, aimed more at property than human lives. Those who attacked the London underground last week, however, had other priorities. They sought to kill as many people as possible.
The horrors of July 7 remind us that another sort of fanatic has declared war not only on the United Kingdom, but the United States and indeed the whole of Europe.
As Tony Blair reminded us, these fanatics seek the destruction of all that we value — our freedoms, our religion and our way of life. It can truly be said that an attack on London is an attack on New York, on Washington, and yes, on Dublin.
It is equally true, then, that counter-terrorism operations carried out by Scotland Yard, MI5 and MI6 — institutions that are rarely mentioned favorably in Ireland and in Irish America — are undertaken on our behalf as well as on behalf of Britons.
I have argued on this page before, and will do so again, that the common threat of Islamic terrorism means that Americans and Europeans must work together as allies in the defense of our civilization — and that means old quarrels must be put aside as we defend ourselves against a foe that regards us all as infidels.
In this context Britain’s security forces are our security forces. Their successes are our successes. Their fight is our fight.
Not all Irish people agree, as I learned when I first made this argument months ago. I heard from republicans and nationalists in the north of Ireland who insisted that British security forces remain the enemy of the Irish people and their legitimate aspirations. Perhaps, but I also know that every Islamic terrorist picked up by Scotland Yard is a victory for all of us who want to preserve our way of life.
There can be no neutrality in this battle, although many people cling to the hope that if they criticize Israel enough, or if they show disdain for America, they will be spared, that the terrorists will pass over their countries while they murder civilians in other places.
The terrorists have made their aims clear. They do not seek the liberation of any national territory, as the Irish did in the 1880s. They are stateless. But they wish to create a Taliban-like Islamic government over the whole of Europe. Britain is home to many of these fanatics, and they have been preaching nothing less than the overthrow of British democracy for years.
Like the fascists and communists of the 20th Century, Islamic terrorists wish to impose their ideology, their values and, yes, their religion on the west and indeed the world. They have said as much, just as Hitler outlined his plans for Europe’s Jews in his book, Mein Kampf. People didn’t believe Hitler would act on his word. But he did.
And now the terrorists are trying to bring about the destruction of Western prosperity, heritage and freedom, which they wish to achieve through murder and demographics. They see a Europe, where Islam is growing while church pews are emptying, where an aging population requires the work of Muslim immigrants. Time, they believe, is on their side.
After 9/11, the terrorists pointed out the essential difference between their world view and ours. We treasure life, they said, while they love death.
It is a chilling thought. It is also demonstrably true.
Such people set off the bombs of July 7. Such people flew airplanes into the World Trade Center.
When Britain removes such people from the streets, when Scotland Yard breaks up a terrorist cell, when MI5 and MI6 infiltrate the Islamic conspiracy, it is a victory for all of us.
Regardless of our tortured history with British governments, Irish-Americans need to rally around the British in this time of agony.
They are our allies. They are our friends. We must help each other, or we will help those who would destroy us all.

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