Songs of childhood

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  • Published 20060203
  • ISBN: 9780733315480
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

How do you make a terrorist? I can’t pretend to know the definitive answer to that question, and I’m not at all sure that there is just one. But I can see that it’s possible that some people who had childhoods not unlike mine could become terrorists when pushed or pulled by the necessary circumstances at the appropriate time.

I was born in Northern Ireland and I kept that out of my first nine books because the fundamentalism at the heart of that society, split as it was by a sectarian divide, stopped making sense almost the moment I arrived in Brisbane aged eight and three quarters. In Northern Ireland, there were normal lives being lived as well – normal for the most part – but both sides of the conflict had some people who would hate and kill and die for their beliefs. These were fundamentalists of a white Christian kind who were citizens of the United Kingdom. They were divided by which branch of Christianity they’d inherited, but also divided by politics, walls, barricades, armed patrols, old seething hatreds, ancient ignorance, imbalances of opportunities and sometimes simple deep-seated frustration that was given an outlet in violence seen by some as legitimate.

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