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Posted by ESC on November 19, 2003

In Reply to: 'Boer irreconcilables' hitched to... posted by sunjuvo on November 19, 2003

: James Briggs, I am very sorry. I did not know that my quotation was lost. Now I noticed that.
: Thank you for your patience. I will give you my original quotation below with quotation marks " ".

: "Since the start of the Boer War, and more so as it progressed, the British had come under considerable international condemnation. As the fighting dragged on, the outnumbered Boers relied entirely upon guerrilla tactics, sabotaging supply lines and derailing trains. Conan Doyle's solution to this, as he wrote in the Times, was a truck of 'Boer irreconcilables' hitched to every locomotive: to the critics who attacked him, his reply was 'Our duty is to our own soldiers'."

I googled "Boer irreconcilables" and came up with several sites. Then I looked the term up in an online dictionary. An irreconcilable is a person who won't get with the program. What I'm not clear on is what would be the difference between an irreconcilable and a dissident. (See definitions below.)

The first batch of prisoners arrived in Ceylon on 9 August 1900 and subsequently others followed until some 5 000 prisoners had landed. Diyatalawa was the main camp. Mt Lavinia was the convalescent camp while dissidents and irreconcilables were housed at Ragama.

From Merriam-Webster online:

Main Entry: 2irreconcilable
Function: noun
Date: 1748
: one that is irreconcilable; especially : a member of a group (as a political party) opposing compromise or collaboration

Main Entry: dis·si·dent
Pronunciation: -d&nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin dissident-, dissidens, present participle of dissidEre to sit apart, disagree, from dis- + sedEre to sit -- more at SIT
Date: 1837
: disagreeing especially with an established religious or political system, organization, or belief
- dissident noun