Letter: Adams on TV: international application of a British ban

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The Independent Online
Sir: As an American currently living in Britain and a great admirer of your country, I find the recent, slightly hysterical, reaction to Gerry Adams's visit to the US overblown and counterproductive.

Many Americans who supported his visit are not motivated by Irish or Catholic ancestry, but as students of history. Lest we forget the original 'terrorist' in Ireland, we need only delve back into British history. British atrocities towards Ireland over the centuries make many Americans uncomfortable and will, reasonably, elicit a sympathetic response. To treat the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland as a recent problem instigated by the IRA is to live with blinkers on.

Americans have learnt the hard way to look beyond our politicians and the media for all sides to an issue. Many Americans wanted to hear Mr Adams's views in order to make our own judgements. Talk of back-door deals between Senator Edward Kennedy and President Clinton insults all intelligent people. A phobic and slanted reaction from the British media is of no reasonable help to the current talks.




3 February