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Hope and expectation

Rabiya Parekh | 17:14 UK time, Thursday, 23 March 2006

To be honest it's been a bit difficult concentrating on getting the days show on air because most of us are busy sorting out the logistics for our US tour. But we had a really interesting conversation about terrorism and whether terrorist activities actually achieve anything.

Today we wanted to hear your hopes and expectations on the news that ETA now wants to stick to a permanent ceasefire.

The group is still listed as a terrorist group by the US and the European Union. The group is blamed for killing more than 800 people in its fight for independence for the Basque region of northern Spain and south-west France.

The group is still listed as a terrorist group by the US and the European Union. The group is blamed for killing more than 800 people in its fight for independence for the Basque region of northern Spain and south-west France.

We asked you if you had trust in ETAs commitment.

Dr Alexis Debat, a security analyst and former advisor to the French minister of Defence, joined us from our Washington studios.

He spoke to callers from Spain as they told him that actually they weren't that hopeful because ceasefires of this nature are seen all over the world, but all too often they fall apart.

In the second half of the programme we opened up the debate a bit more to talk about how far terrorism goes to achieve change.

Anthony McIntyre writes an online journal, The Blanket,which he describes as a peaceful means of commenting on the peace process in Northern Ireland. But earlier in his life he was a former member of the IRA. He talked about his experiences in the IRA, and talked openly about the kind of violence he was involved in.

Here's a selection of emails that came in to us during the programme:

Negotiating with terrorist organisation, even on condition that they should put down their weapons, is simply putting a brave face on the capitulation of democracy at the hands of organdie crime. The IRA is a good case in point. Here you have a bunch of gangsters and lunatics, self-appointed representatives of the Irish people whom the Irish people themselves would never dream of having in power, catapulted to positions of government on the strength of the promise that they will stop sowing horror and terror all over the country.Robert, France
I'm of the opinion that violence helps if the aggrieved party has exhausted all means of negotiation. Taking Nigeria as a case study,the Jaw militants in the Niger Delta of Nigeria use violence as a means of driving home their point.The oil companies operating in their community often neglected certain issues like deterioration of their environment.The federal government is always stubborn to its citizens plight.Emeka, Nigeria
If the population of the region largely supports the views of those who have turned to violence, especially if they have been repressed, it will build support for that position. If a distinct minority support the views or aims, it will serve mostly to isolate them. If there is a somewhat evenly divided public opinion, the violence will mostly deepen the divides. In grey areas between--some support but not even, or little support but deep-rooted (especially as when there is a fundamentalist belief involved) --it will prolong the ideological struggle, deepen the divides, and leave deep and lasting scars.Chris, Washington
Most people have a tendency to focus on conflicts themselves rather than the causes of conflict, finding it easier to bandy about the word "terrorism" than to address the root causes of conflict itself. For example, had equality and democratic rights for all citizens been enshrined and enforced in Northern Ireland by the British government from the time of partition, the IRA we know today never would have gained the support it did, and the conflict could have been avoided or minimised. Paramilitary organisation cannot evolve to the level of the IRA or Eta unless there is sufficient support for them to survive. Remove the cause of the support, or at least address the concerns upon which that support is based, and one can remove the threat of conflict.Brooke, Washington

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