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It's interesting to read Elizabeth Woods' solutions to the strife in Northern Ireland (Forum April 13). She stated that those in Ulster who didn't like British rule could go south (to the republic of Ireland) and smoke their peat. It is arrogant attitudes like this that started so many of the troubles in Northern Ireland.

For centuries, Ireland was free from British rule. The British quest for world colonization and a few battles changed this. Soon after, the British monarchy ruled that no Catholics could own land in Ireland. British landowners took this opportunity to take as much of the land as they could.What followed is indeed a very bloody struggle, with innocent victims and cold-hearted killers on each side. In the early 1900s, the Irish were told they could have the entire country back, but when it came time to sign the official document, six counties in Ulster were left under British rule. The Irish decided it was best to take what they could get, and fight for the rest. And that fight has cost so much.

Lately, the attitude for a recipe for change has shifted from fists, bombs and guns to talking and compromise. And now some, like Woods, complain about this direction. They would rather have everyone adopt an ostrichlike solution. Just bury your head in the sand and don't see the the problems that need to be addressed and just respect the (British) flag and the British monarchy.

That's far too simple, and I can't see that happening. And furthermore, has the British monarchy done anything in the past few years that merits respect? I commend President Clinton for meeting with Gerry Adams as he and others involved in the conflict try these new and uncertain steps that can lead in new directions in the quest for peace in Ulster. It won't be easy. It won't happen overnight. But it is the first positive direction in centuries. I think it deserves a chance.

Chad Gibbs

Salt Lake City