Tuesday, May 08, 2007

peace in northern ireland?

are such things possible? today, we saw ian paisley, the democratic unionist party leader who spent decades denouncing republicans, and martin mcguinness, a former ira commander, standing next to each other as they prepared to begin governing the province of northern ireland together.
Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair, Peter Hain, and DUP leader Ian Paisley after the ceremony at Stormont

the main papers report it thus:

the guardian
the telegraph

from the times:

"Then and now

Martin McGuinness, on trial in Ireland, 1973 “I am a member of Oglaigh na Eireann (IRA) and very, very proud of it”
Yesterday in Stormont “As for Ian Paisley, I want to wish you all the best as we step forward towards the greatest yet most exciting challenge of our lives”

Ian Paisley, opposing the Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1985 “Never! Never! Never!”
Yesterday in Stormont “That was yesterday. This is today and tomorrow will be tomorrow. From the depths of my heart I can say to you today that I believe Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace”"

from the independent:

"Over the years I heard them, repeatedly and routinely, send out the message that there would be no compromise, no sell-out, no surrender. But now there is a new rhetoric and all of the old certainties are disappearing. Ian Paisley, now Northern Ireland's First Minister, spoke of "a time when hate will no longer rule". Martin McGuinness, ex-IRA and now his new deputy, spoke of peace and reconciliation. They both clearly meant it."

new york times

finally, from ian paisley (the auld preacher)'s speech, his conclusion:

""I have sensed a great sigh of relief amongst all our people who want the hostility to be replaced with neighbourliness.

"The great king Solomon said, 'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
'A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
'A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to break down and a time to build up.
'A time to get and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to cast away.
'A time to love and a time to hate.
A time of war and a time of peace.'

"I believe that Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule. How good it will be to be part of a wonderful healing in our Province. Today we have begun to plant and we await the harvest.""

if it can happen in northern ireland, dare we hope in other places ... ... ... ?

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