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Campus Visitor Escapes Terrorism

Bradly Gill
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Picture by Lee Hassler
Like It Is  Bill Stevenson, whose father was a terrorist, said Jesus pulled him away from terrorism. Stevenson spoke with a campus organization recently.

   Bill Stevenson experienced terrorism on a personal level long before 9/11 was a buzzword. His father was a high ranking member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, a protestant response to the traditionally Catholic Irish Republican Army.

   “In the late ‘60s, the IRA and the UVF developed a more organized approach to terrorism, and by the late 1990s they were considered the most sophisticated terrorist organizations in the world,” Stevenson said.

   This training would later be handed down to Al- Qaeda.

   “I grew up in a family where, as a young boy, I developed a lot of fear. I remember on one occasion, machine gun bullets coming through my living room window,” Stevenson recalls.

   Stevenson’s viewing of John Wayne movies and other popular American culture inspired him to move the United States, then a land free from terror. However, he credits something else with actually getting him out.

   “I came to America in 1982. What got me out of Northern Ireland was Jesus Christ,” he said.

   Although Stevenson readily found his spiritualism, his father was less accepting, even going so far as to threaten to break his son’s legs if he mentioned Jesus one more time.

   However, his father soon had a change of faith and Stevenson, with the rest of his family, went into hiding. They then traveled the globe, preaching to people worldwide.

   Recently, with tensions easing in Northern Ireland, he and his family have made several trips back.

   “Nine-eleven had an impact worldwide. All of a sudden, terrorists like the IRA wanted to separate themselves from terrorists like Al-Qaeda. The Irish still value life,” Stevenson said.

    Stevenson is very active in the current peace process between Catholics and Protestants. He has met with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and former President Bill Clinton to talk about the trouble in his home country. He currently teaches at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.

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© The Voice 2005
09/17/2007 01:46:43 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/3_1/Terrorist.html