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For those that understand no explanation is necessary for those that dont no explanation is possible -graffiti on a peace wall in Belfast Prologue My interest in the conflict in Northern Ireland dates back to 1994 when Gerry Adams was granted a visa to visit the United States The fact that Adams was granted a visa made news all over the world Adams had previously been convicted of membership in the Irish Republican Army which was considered by the US State Department to be a terrorist organization Up until the time that Adams was granted a visa the US had a strict policy of not allowing persons with known affiliations to terrorist groups into this country To me however Adams was not a terrorist but a freedom fighter You see I am the grandson of four Irish immigrants and had heard about the awful English my entire life I distinctly remember helping my grandmother do house chores as a young child as she would sing an old Irish ballad Four Green Fields over and over again When I was younger I really thought that my grandmother used to have four green fields one of which was stolen from her It was not until I got much older that I realized the song symbolized the partition of Ireland I had the chance to see Gerry Adams address the Washington Press Corps Luncheon on C-SPAN that spring in 1994 and it left an indelible impression on me My thirst for learning about the Troubles was developed The thirst increased when there appeared to be a chance for peace that autumn when the IRA called a cease-fire I tried to follow the news from Ireland the best I could in the local papers and read whatever books I could get my hands on It was not until I undertook the task of writing this paper however that I came to realize the depth and complexity of the
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