This 1990 episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" expressed some controversial views on both Irish unification and the use of terrorism to achieve political power.
"Star Trek: The Next Generation," the American science fiction television series, almost caused quite a stir back in January 1990 with its season three episode "The High Ground" in which they appeared to predict the unification of Ireland along with voicing some controversial views on terrorism.
The episode saw the crew of the USS Enterprise entangled in a decades-long internal conflict between the people of Rutia IV and a group of rebel separatists called the Ansata.
During the episode, Patrick Stewart's Captain Jean-Luc Picard has a full-blown discussion about The Troubles, the roughly 30-year period of unrest in Northern Ireland, with the Enterprise's synthetic life form Data, played by Brent Spiner.
Bear in mind that at the time of this episode, The Troubles were still in full swing.
Discussing the merits and weaknesses of terrorism, Data says: "I've been reviewing the history of armed rebellion, and it appears that terrorism is an effective way to promote political change."
Picard retorts: "Yes it can be, but, I have never subscribed to the theory that political power flows from the barrel of a gun."
Data argues: "Yet there are numerous examples when it was successful. The independence of the Mexican state from Spain, the Irish unification of 2024, and the Kenzie Rebellion."
Picard says he's aware of these instances, to which Data continues: "Then it would be accurate to say that terrorism is acceptable when all options for peaceful settlement have been foreclosed?"
Picard sighs and says: "Data, these are questions that mankind have been struggling with throughout history. Your confusion is only human."
The episode was set in the year 2366. Therefore, in the "Star Trek" universe, Ireland had enjoyed a unified existence for more than 300 years.
The entire conversation between Picard and Data was edited out of the episode when it first aired on television on BBC Two in the UK and on RTÉ in Ireland respectively.
While the entire episode has yet to be aired in Ireland, it was aired in the UK on Sky One in May 2006 and on UK terrestrial TV in September 2007, both nearly a decade after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
You can watch the "Star Trek" clip about Irish unification here:
* Originally published in 2021. Updated in 2022.