Never Forget Horror of Nazis: Beware of Irish Racist Threat
Today has become one of the toughest days in my life. Today (Monday) is International Holocaust Memorial Day, a day to remember the six million who perished in Nazi death camps.
If I ever became a lottery multi-millionaire, I want to take every racist in Ireland on a tour of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz Birkenau in Poland, where more than a million were murdered.
After 35 years in journalism, I thought the Troubles enabled me to experience every emotion imaginable. Wrong! I still have nightmares about the visit to that place of mass genocide.
As I started on the Auschwitz tour, I was physically sick. I passed through the gates with its iron sign in German, and had to rush back into the visitor's centre and vomit.
Hitler's SS had its genocide machine at Auschwitz down to a fine art – butchering 3,000 people every half hour. Just imagine everyone killed in the Troubles dying in only 30 minutes.
Nothing in life ever prepares you to confront racism. I once spent 18 months researching a two-part series on links between republicanism and the evil Ku Klux Klan.
But one of the KKK's supporters lived in Ireland and within hours they had traced me, forcing me to leave the North until the heat of the story cooled.
One of the creepiest moments of my career hunting racists came when I interviewed British National Party MEP Nick Griffin, then Chairman of the National Front (NF).
He was accompanied by a few senior cronies. He handed me a booked entitled Attempted Murder, which basically was a rant about people opposing the NF.
I almost puked over Griffin when I discovered a half page on myself, claiming my articles exposing the Front were 'lurid publicity designed to frighten the NF away from involvement in Ulster.'
Within a few weeks of this, I was chased for a mile through south Belfast by a bunch of NF skinheads who had recognised me from an article blowing the lid on the racist party's latest recruitment drive.
Worse was to follow when after another of my exposes, the NF published my name and home address along with a photo of me in its hatesheet, National Front News.
I knew I would have to leave home as the NF shoved a copy of the hatesheet through my home letterbox.
Then a Klan source took exception to an article I wrote entitled The Orange Swastika – the rise of new millennium Loyalist Nazism.
This so-called Grand Dragon arrived at my door, issuing the immortal words: "You don't blow my cover, and we won't blow up your house!"
My message is simple – I have personally suffered for my stand against racism, so please do not bore me with pious words of condemnation.
Take positive action and get those tougher laws I want against hate crime. I don't want racism to become Ireland's new sectarianism.