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Institute of Irish Studies Professorial Fellow, Fergal Keane and Director, Marianne Elliott
BBC Correspondent and Institute of Irish Studies Professorial Fellow, Fergal Keane delivered a talk called ‘Terror through Time’, ahead of the release of a major BBC Radio 4 series of the same name.
An audience of more than 250 members of the public, staff and students packed into the Eleanor Rathbone Theatre for the discussion around modern incarnations of terror, and their common elements.
Sharing the stage with Fergal was Institute of Irish Studies Director, Professor Marianne Elliott.
Professor Elliott said: “Fergal argued that terrorists were not normally psychopaths but often had political aims, with their excessive violence designed to provoke over-reaction from the authorities in various countries. This was seen in many areas, from Northern Ireland to South Africa, and in turn brought more recruits in to the terrorist organisations.
Fergal was asked questions about Islamic terrorism, and the context in which terrorism operates. He was also engaged in debate around whether terrorism ‘works’, and whether those pursuing terrorist activity should be approached by democratic Governments seeking negotiated settlements.
Prof Elliott said: “When asked if terrorism worked, the conclusion was ‘sometimes’. One of the interviewees for the series suggested that it worked better in democracies, with the violence pushing people to put pressure on their Governments to do deals. Here, Fergal stressed the importance of visionary leadership in bringing violence to a close, as seen in Northern Ireland with Senator George Mitchell and in South Africa with Nelson Mandella and F.W.De Klerk.”
Those assembled were then given the opportunity to meet Fergal. His talk followed an afternoon programme that had seen him teach a segment of the Institute’s Masters in Irish Studies and Understanding Conflict.
Fergal Keane is currently recording ‘Terror through Time’, a 25 part series for BBC Radio 4.
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