What surprised me was not opposition — these were, after all, publicly funded middle-class people with a lot of time on their hands — but their incredible ignorance.

They had not heard, for example, of Sinn Fein or the Irish Republican movement, not heard of pogroms, seemed to know nothing even of the left-wing world of which they claimed to be a part.

One woman of perhaps 19, holding a poster demanding abortion rights, giggled at a story of the murder of

2.5-million East European Jews, another smirked when I told of Africans living in poverty, one more yawned ostentatiously when I spoke of handicapped babies being singled out for death.

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