NORTHERN IRELAND: Return to Tar and Feathers

As shoppers hurried home at dusk, they were startled to see two young men, aged 18 and 19, being marched through Belfast's Falls Road slum, heavily populated by Catholics. A group of angry members of the I.R.A. (the outlawed Irish Republican Army) tied the two boys to a lamppost and poured cold tar varnish and feathers over their shaved heads. Placards tied around the victims' necks proclaimed; "This man has been found guilty and confessed to breaking and entering. This sentence has been passed by the Republican movement."

Such punishment dates to the twelfth century, when miscreant Crusaders serving under...

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