My Greek Pen Pal Markela has been invaluable in terms of enlightening me to different perspectives and new information. Since she studies history and communication, discussions with her are interesting and well grounded. Going backwards a little bit in our course, I would like to talk about the insights she provided me with regarding Northern Ireland conflict.

First of all, Markela saw Irish uprising as a logical reaction to oppressive British rule. This is interesting, considering the controversy surrounding terrorism and counterterrorism. It is interesting to question what is justified and what is not. This seems to be an ethical dilemma that will not rest.

Additionally, Markela provided me with notes from a class she took in which she learned in depth about the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland. I can’t help but think if I was not in the class, I would probably continue to know virtually nothing about the IRA and its motives. Certainly our historical profile presentations and viewing Bloody Sunday helped fill in these gaps, but learning from a history student in another country about these issues is fascinating. She brings a European perspective to issues that yield very different perspectives in America. Her relative geographic proximity to terrorism in Europe certainly increases the need for awareness in these territories. She mentioned that terrorism is by no means new to Greece, with a history of terrorist acts by a group called 17 November. It is interesting to think, though, about how aware the entire world was of terrorist attacks in America, and how unaware Americans are of terrorism abroad. Perhaps the intensity and shock of 9/11 had something to do with the global reaction, but American perceptions of terrorism as mainly what happened on 9/11 is quite sheltered. I hope that, as a class, through our own “cups of tea”, we will be able to spread, if even just a little, a broader awareness of what terrorism entails, so that maybe Americans will not feel so targeted by terrorism and will realize that terrorism has been an issue for centuries in many countries. 9/11, unfortunately, seemed to fully introduce the United States to foreign terrorism.

Overall, I realized from my discussion with Markela about Irish conflict and other issues, that America is relatively sheltered from the global understanding of terrorism that has been developed through a vast history of experience. Our perceptions and reactions are quite different from those of citizens in other countries, since the majority of our experience comes from 9/11.

As an additional note, Markela recommended a film about the IRA and British opposition entitled “50 Dead Men Walking”. I have not yet been able to see it, but I would just like to extend Markela’s recommendation to the class.