Monday, March 26, 2007

And the lions shall lie down with lambs...

Since we're all about historical perspective here, the announcement out of Belfast today is truly rich vein. Think anti-Communist crusader/Red baiter Richard Nixon going to China in the early l970s, Anwar Sadat heading to Jerusalem in the early l980s, for that matter Reagan summiting and reaching agreement with Mikhail Gorbachev as the Cold War waned. Those are the kind of analogies appropriate to the agreement reached between Ian Paisley, the very embodiment of "no surrender" Protestants, and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, who orchestrated determined guerilla warfare against them for nearly 30 years. The two sat down together today at the same table and agreed to the key provision of the Good Friday agreement: a power-sharing arrangement in which Catholics and Protestants will jointly determine the future of northern Ireland.

Some will say this means the IRA and Catholics "lost," since their goal was not just to force the British army out of northern Ireland, but to bring about the union of British northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. In truth, though, everybody won in this outcome, because the future of the region will now be resolved peacefully, through the democratic process, with the consent of the governed. And that qualifies as a genuine miracle, a shaking of the earth, if you consider the 3,000 victims of this conflict, the years of poverty and dislocation, the blighted lives and the unremitting bitterness on both sides...I often believed that it was hopeless, that this conflict was a geopolitical fact for the forseeable future, like the Cold War. I'm so happy to be proven wrong today.

Look up into the sky towards the east...I think you might see some green and orange pigs flying on the horizon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure anymore who the lions and who the lambs are in northern Ireland. But I was so happy to see this development. Although they refused to shake hands at the end, I hope that we are finally at a turning point in this miserable, seemingly endless conflict.

9:52 AM  

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