Showing posts with label Peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peace. Show all posts

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Peace maker John Hume 1937 - 2020



 Hume died August 2020
‘Until you agree on the problem you can’t agree the solution.’ 

 ‘This piece of earth, our divided people.’
‘He made hope and history rhyme, ‘Seamus Heaney.

He was instrumental in the Irish peace process, and won 3 peace awards – The Nobel Peace prize, the Martin Luther king peace prize and the Ghandi peace award. He will be remembered with other peace makers.
He paved the foundations for the peace and the Good Friday agreement, signed in April 1998 and agreed on by two referendums in May1998, which ended the 30 years of the Troubles (1960s – 1990s) Issues relating to sovereignty, civil, and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, demilitarisation, justice and policing were central to the agreement.
There are some visionaries who can see the bigger picture, join up the dots and offer new stories and hopes. John Hume was one. 
My parents were Ulster unionists and I remember well the despair and dreadful violence and indiscriminate killings every day on the news during the troubles. It was a scary time. I remember visiting my family in northern Ireland as a child and returning when I was older when there were army roadblocks and helicopters circling over head. And each day there were more killings. 

Hume saw past all that – past the old sectarian hatreds and divides. 
In the 1980s Hume gave speeches at universities around northern Ireland: at Queens university students union when he would say – 
‘I’m here to make the single transferrable speech.’
The place was packed, and Hume was heckled by both nationalists and unionists. He always had an answer though  ‘This is not a history lesson,' he’d say.’

‘Foxes and hedgehogs know one big thing, we are all different. Diversity is to be celebrated. How does that threaten anyone?’ 
You can’t eat a flag.’
On human dignity – ‘An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.’
‘Spill sweat not blood.’
 ‘It not our land, its our people.’

He played better outside than inside the inward-looking, insular Northern Ireland and he knew it was more important to get the message out abroad. He spoke with US President Bill Clinton, about the political process rather than the military one. 

He got both Paisley and Thatcher to agree, he changed minds - and to see Northern Ireland not as an occupied territory, but as one day liberated. 
He asked the UK government, for civil rights and equality, how could they refuse?

It was his peace solution based on the European Union – The European Parliament, the European Commission and European Council. 
John Hume’s speech at the EU Parliament Strasburg – He speaks of the EU’s philosophy of peace and to respect difference. He asks that the EU should send not arms but their philosophy of peace to places of conflict. All conflicts is about seeing conflict, because difference is only an accident of birth. We should respect difference. 

He never held high office but he moved mountains. 
His endless persuasion worked. 
‘This piece of earth, our divided people.’

‘He made hope and history rhyme, ‘ poet Seamus Heaney. 


John Hume (1937 – 2020) was an Irish nationalist politician Irish nationalist politician from Northern Ireland, widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Ireland, as one of the architects of  The Northern Ireland Peace process - with the Good Friday Agreement signed April 1998. 
A native of Derry, he was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP) and served as its second leader from 1979 to 2001. He also served as a Member of the European Parliament, and a Member of the UK Parliament, as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He was named "Ireland's Greatest" in a 2010 public poll by Irish national broadcaster RTE to find the greatest person in Ireland's history. 
Gerry Adams, John Hume, Bill Clinton, David Trimble

Gerry Adams, Albert Reynolds & John Hume
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement (Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaontú Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots Guid Friday Greeance or Bilfawst Greeance), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles: a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had been on going since the 1960s. It served as a major development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s Northern Ireland present devolved system of government is based on the agreement. The agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. 
The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, voters were asked in the 1998 Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum whether they supported the multi-party agreement. In the Republic of Ireland, voters were asked whether they would allow the state to sign the agreement and allow necessary constitutional changes to facilitate it. The people of both jurisdictions needed to approve   agreement in order to give effect to it.The British–Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999. 
Hume was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble, and also a received both the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award. He is the only person to receive the three major peace awards. He was named "Ireland's Greatest" in a 2010 public poll by Irish national broadcaster RTE to find the greatest person in Ireland's history.[5]

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Irelands Road to Freedom



Act of Union between Ireland and England 1801.

Easter Rising 1916, Irish Free State.

Thirty Years of Troubles Northern Ireland with a great deal of violence  - 1960s – 1990s.

Northern Irish Peace Agreement - (1998) - The Good Friday Agreement Belfast April 1998. (Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta) –  Northern Ireland system of devolved government is based on the agreement - created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and Ireland - and between the Ireland and the UK.  
It was clear to me, having Irish parents, that during the Brexit debates that no attention was paid to the Irish dilemma over the EU customs and trading union. Just like Scotland, Ireland was a mere after thought. No one in Ireland wants a return to a hard border – there are always nutters on either side just looking for an excuse. Why should Ireland give up its peace and prosperity? Ireland is crucially split on ancient religious grounds
Scotland too has opposite needs to England – our farming is mostly hill rather than arable; our fishing rather than cars is a major concern; we want to welcome young immigrant workers to grow our economy and support an older population; Scotland wants to pursue progressive socialist policies to work for a more socially inclusive nation – where England wants to be a low regulated, low wage economy like a new Singapore. (which is unacceptable for the EU).
AND on a personal note. My parents were from Co Down and Belfast and I visited there every summer from Scotland. I understand the deep divisions and problems there (unlike many London politicians). These divisions will not be easily healed. And I feel extremely angry at the thought that some feel a hard border is an answer there – just because of this crazy Brexit. Brexit is about looking backward.  While my husband's father came form Kilkenny in southern Ireland.

A hundred years ago Ireland embraced its rich heritage and culture – and developed its own identity again. Many had to die so Ireland could achieve self government. I hope Scotland can achieve this dream too – peacefully and through informed debate for a healthier partnership with its larger partner England. Scotland is often an after thought
England has pursued a policy of over-centralised government for more than a century, particularly during the wars and then complains of too many immigrants! By contrast European parliament encourages healthy regionalization and encouraging regional language. Why is wanting more local government against the national interest? In fact the UK is the most lop-sided geographically unbalanced major country in the world!

The great poet WB Yeats, was persuaded to write on the old Irish  songs, heritage and ballads, at the same time he lived in London and was before this part of the Anglo-Irish group who dominated Irish politics.
After the hangings of the Irish rebels in the Easter rising Yeats wrote -
his poem 'Easter 1916' 
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly: (YB Yeats)

The Northern Ireland peace process is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ( IRA) ceasefire and the end of the violence Troubles, and the Good Friday Agreement 1998.
Issues relating to Sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, justice and policing. The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. The British-Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999.  The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) was the only major political group in Northern Ireland to oppose the Good Friday Agreement.

Ultimately between Scotland and England - a good partnership for trade, security, environment. and defence.. rather than control from Westminster

The European countries are committed firstly to Peace and Prosperity – any other consideration is secondary. Ireland exemplifies and tells us the real UK conflict. Also that harmful over centralization in the south east.
Why should Peace and Prosperity be sacrificed by Scotland, the EU or Ireland just to suit some backward looking Tory politicians we have not voted for?