Sunday, 3 March 2013

Disarming through Empathy

How Jo Berry, daughter of Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry, met Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, Pat Magee, whose planted bomb killed her father at the 1984 Grand Hotel bombing in Brighton

The year was 1984. October 12th, 1984 to be exact. A bomb exploded in the Grand Hotel in Brighton where the majority of the senior figures of the British Conservative Party Conference were staying during the Conservative Party’s annual conference. Five people were killed including Jo Berry’s father, Sir Anthony Berry, the MP for Southgate. Irish Republican Army (IRA) member Pat Magee was convicted of the bombing and sentenced to 8 life sentences. In 1999, however, he was released from prison after the Good Friday peace agreement. Determined "to bring something positive out of what had happened", Jo Berry decided to meet Pat Magee several moths after he was released.

Jo Berry and Pat Magee now work together in the area of Reconciliation and Conflict Resolution.

In this moving and intimate interview, they share their story with Iain McNay of Conscious TV. 

"If I'd lived Pat's life and gone through everything he'd gone through, would I have made the same choices as him, would I have joined the IRA? I don't know, I may have or I may not have and in that moment, I have such empathy and understanding [that] there isn't anything to forgive. [...] I realize that not just with Pat but with other people who've been involved in a conflict like an ex-British soldier or an ex-Loyalist Paramilitary, I could be anyone of their sisters, or I could be them, we all can be each other's stories and this to me is more powerful than forgiveness, this sort of understanding and empathy." Jo Berry 

Video: courtesy of

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