Police link N. Ireland car bomb to ‘New IRA’

Updated 20 January 2019

Police link N. Ireland car bomb to ‘New IRA’

  • Two men in their twenties were arrested in the city on Sunday
  • Londonderry was a consistent flashpoint in the three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles

DERRY, N. Ireland: Police investigating a suspected car bombing in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry said on Sunday they believe dissident republican group the New IRA to be responsible.

The suspected bomb exploded at 8:10 p.m. (2010 GMT) on Saturday, as police were evacuating the area following a warning that a device had been planted outside the city courthouse. There were no casualties.

“Our main line of inquiry is against the New IRA,” said Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton.

“The New IRA, like most dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland, is small, largely unrepresentative, and determined to drag people back to somewhere they don’t want to be.

“The people responsible for this attack have shown no regard for the community or local businesses. They care little about the damage to the area and the disruption they have caused.”

 

Warning call

Two men in their twenties were arrested in the city on Sunday, as police and army explosives teams remained on the scene of the blast.

Police say they believe the vehicle used in the attack was hijacked locally from a delivery driver earlier on Saturday.

The warning call was made to a charity hotline in England, before being communicated to local law enforcement in the British province, police said.

Londonderry was a consistent flashpoint in the three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

Campaigns of assassination and car bombing between republicans and unionists were largely brought to an end by the 1998 Good Friday peace accords.

As part of the agreement, the Irish Republican Army paramilitary group decommissioned its last remaining weapons in 2005 and committed itself to pursuing its aim of a united Ireland through purely political means.

But dissident paramilitaries remain active on both sides of the divide.

“This attempt to disrupt progress in Northern Ireland has rightly been met with utter condemnation from all parts of the community,” said Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

“The small number of people responsible have absolutely nothing to offer Northern Ireland’s future and will not prevail.”

“This is intolerable violence and we want to look forward and build a peaceful future for all in Northern Ireland.”

Former Northern Irish first minister Arlene Foster, who heads the province’s Democratic Unionist Party, referred to it as a “pointless act of terror,” while the Republic of Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called it a “car bomb terrorist attack.”


Jakarta literary festival aims to give a voice to the voiceless

Updated 29 min ago

Jakarta literary festival aims to give a voice to the voiceless

  • The four-day festival features authors from the Middle East and Africa
  • The festival unites international authors with dozens of fellow writers from Indonesia

JAKARTA: The inaugural Jakarta International Literary Festival commenced on Tuesday evening with a focus on bringing together writers and literary works from the Global South. 

Festival Director Yusi Avianto Pareanom said that the organizer, the Literary Committee of the Jakarta Arts Council, wanted to emphasize the importance of creating balance in a discourse that has been dominated by work from the Global North.

The four-day festival features authors from the Middle East and Africa, such as Legodle Seganabeng from Botswana, Adania Shibli from Palestine, Bejan Matur from Turkey, Zainab Priya Dala from South Africa, Shenaz Patel from Mauritius, Momtaza Mehri from Somalia and many authors from Southeast Asian countries.

The festival unites international authors with dozens of fellow writers from Indonesia at the Taman Ismail Marzuki arts and cultural center in Jakarta between Aug. 20 and 24.  

“Our theme ‘Fence’ highlights that we want to unlock and deconstruct the barriers that separate us, so that these writers can get to know each other,” Yusi told Arab News. 

“From authors like Adania Shibli, we can enrich our knowledge about Palestine and its literary scene. There are plenty of ways to portray a situation. Through Shibli, we can get understand Palestine through its literary side.

“By featuring Bejan Matur, we know that there is another prominent Turk author apart from the world-renowned Orhan Pamuk,” he added. 

Shibli delivered her keynote speech titled “I am not to speak my language” at the opening of the festival, in which she described how the Israeli occupation has silenced Arabic-speaking Palestinians.

“The phenomenon of Palestinians taking refuge in silence whenever they are around Hebrew speakers in Palestine or Israel is not unfamiliar,” Shibli said.

She added that decades of military occupation had made speaking in Arabic a fraught experience. 

“Colonialism, however, does not only show contempt toward the colonized, their history and their culture by silencing them, but also toward their language,” she said.  

Shibli described how the nationality law, which the Israeli government passed in July 2018, strips Arabic of its designation as an official language and downgrades it to a special status. 

“Arabic was downgraded from a language into a threat a long time ago,” she added. 

Yusi said that what Shibli described in her speech is relevant to similar situations in other countries, including Indonesia. 

Multilingual Indonesia has more than 700 actively spoken local dialects, with 652 of them verified by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Many of the remaining dialects are in danger of dying out due to diminishing speakers, especially among the younger generation.