On the virtue of a small peace…

A certain passage of Paisley’s speech put me in mind of a passage, is worth repeating here:

“We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future. In looking to that future, we must never forget those who have suffered during the dark period from which we are, please God, emerging. We owe it to them to craft and build the best future possible and ensure there is genuine support for those who are still suffering. With hard work and a commitment to succeed, I believe we can lay the foundation for a better, peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.” .

It put me in mind of this passage from A Long Peace written by David Steven, Trevor Ringland and myself and published some four years ago coming this May:

Turning to the future cannot mean burying the past. As John Dunlop warns us, ‘It would be callous for a community to travel into the future and leave grieving people behind.’88 The greatest tribute to those who have suffered, however, is to build on their sacrifices. Since the peace process began, Northern Ireland has had lavished upon it a degree of attention that dwarfs both the size of its population and the seriousness of its problems. Presidents and prime ministers clear diaries for the leaders of parties representing a few hundred thousand people.

The media follow the peace process with great respect and curiosity. Martial politicians attract attention as they spar for the cameras, stentorian-voiced. But the world’s attention is now moving on and the mundane work of reconstruction must begin. This is not about grandiose gestures, nor sudden cures. It is both more modest and more patient. ‘Universal peace is like the desire for immortality: so difficult to achieve that religions promise immortality not before but after death,’ Umberto Eco warns us. ‘However, a small peace is like the act of a doctor who cures a wound: not a promise of immortality, but at least a way to postpone death.’

  • Re: Parcifal to JEB.

    At last a fact, albeit a dubious one. The status of the Irish Air Corps, as of now, is:

    Reconnaissance and patrol aircraft

    CASA CN-235M-100MP Persuader
    PBN-2T-4S Defender 4000 (flown by IAC to assist the Garda Síochána)

    Transport aircraft

    Beech King Air 200T (earlier used for maritime patrol duties)
    Grumman G1159C Gulfstream IV
    Learjet 45
    Reims Cessna FR172H/K Rocket

    Trainer aircraft

    Pilatus PC-9M

    Helicopters

    Aérospatiale SA316B Alouette III (being replaced by the AW139)
    AgustaWestland AW139 (formerly the Augusta-Bell AB139)
    Eurocopter EC135P2
    Eurocopter EC135T2 (flown by IAC to assist the Garda Síochána)
    Eurocopter AS355N Twin Squirrel (flown by IAC to assist the Garda Síochána)

    On that basis, I trust you may safely sleep at nights.

    What a bore this thread has become.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Henry94 wrote:

    I noticed how both parties are avoiding emotive language and digging up the past in interviews.

    If that is setting the tone for government then it’s a very good sign.

    Henry, well said, I completely agree.

    I just watched Paisley Jnr and Gerry Kelly being interviewed together by Gavin Esler at Stormont. Esler provided several opportunities for either of them to launch into a tirade, but both avoided it, both talked of staying away from stunts and getting down to doing the business. That’s the kind of talk that warms the cockles of my heart. I hope the talk is now followed up by action, and I’ll know for sure we’re getting somewhere once the parties announce their agreed Programme for Government ahead of the formal reinstatement of the Executive.

    That picture of Paisley and Adams sitting together slightly uncomfortably is going to go down in history.

    While there is a huge amount to be optimistic about the momentous nature of today’s events, I think we need to keep just a tiny smigin of reality. There is plenty of talk about a robust working arrangement, but it is not going to take a lot before this deal could well come apart at the seams. It only takes a few people to get shot, or a few misplaced comments by MPs speaking publicly, for things to get hairy. People on Slugger and elsewhere are saying “yay, all our troubles are over and we can go frolicking off into the sunset” – we’re not quite there yet.

    JuliusCaesar, please go away and come back when you’ve learned how to shave.

  • The Dubliner

    “The Assembly is fundamentally dysfunctional and watching it collapse in the time ahead will be a laugh. I think the only stomach churning aspect is the baboon faces of all those Dupes who have betrayed every principle they once espoused! But hey – that’s politics, right?” – David Vance

    I think what folks miss in euphoria of this black farce is that they have elected Europe’s biggest bigot and Europe’s biggest terrorist to the roles of building a society free from the sectarian hatreds that both of those extremists spent their respective lives creating. Both ‘partners’ are sociopaths devoid of principle who want power for the purpose of glory and for the express purpose of defeating the other’s agenda. The people of NI have elected two blinkered jackasses to Stormont and tethered them to each end of the cart, with both jackasses pulling the cart in opposite directions. This is good if you run a fairground, but slightly less satisfactory if the purpose is far-sighted and successful administration.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think what folks miss in euphoria of this black farce is that they have elected Europe’s biggest bigot

    You don’t think he’s outclassed ? By say, J. Marie LePen ?

    and Europe’s biggest terrorist

    Not the Madrid train bombers ?

  • acatag

    REDFELLOW. BUT DOES THAT ADD UP TO 48? YOU GIVE NO NUMBERS.

  • comrade
    yes the discipline of both sides in these interviews was heart warming, no-one wants to be seen as the party pooper, and that’s great news for the future.

  • acatag

    BTW Redfellow. If so boring why are you posting here ? Justa thought.

  • acatag:

    Well, of course there’s the Spitfire in the air museum…

    But you can check it all out for yourself at http://www.scramble.nl/ie.htm

  • And I’m here because of your inspiring wit and aftershave, acatag.

  • DK

    “Thank you DK. That is precisely the sort of reply I was hoping for. How about the fact that a substantial element of the civilian population would be generally sympathetic to such an attack? Incidentally the 80 tanks were the new ones. I have no idea what the total strength would be. The Irish air corps while only 48 aircraft of varying types and ages is 48 more than the orange side could put into the air. would this make a substantial difference?”

    Civilian insurrection unlikely to factor much during the war, which would be over too quickly for much to be done. In military terms, I suspect the IRA/INLA/etc would have been limited to defending their own areas rather than actively assisting the invaders/liberators. Don’t think the Irish army has ever had any tanks, while the I heard that the UDR (?) had one which was eventually used as target practice when it became obsolete in the 80s or 90s. Irish Air force may have had some recconnaisance value, but that’s all. Artillery would be important though and here I draw a blank. Still far too hard for the attackers.

  • acatag

    Redfellow; poof.

  • Pablo

    The people of NI have elected two blinkered jackasses to Stormont and tethered them to each end of the cart, with both jackasses pulling the cart in opposite directions. This is good if you run a fairground, but slightly less satisfactory if the purpose is far-sighted and successful administration.

    Posted by The Dubliner on Mar 26, 2007 @ 11:35 PM

    It always struck me as odd that for the first 25 or so years of the conflict in the north numerous ‘peace talks’ were held which never actually involved those doing the fighting.

    These inevitably delivered nothing; seems so obvious now, but the only way to peace, as is recognised in various models throughout the world, is for the main protaganists to engage. Today was a big step in making that happen in the Ireland that i live in.

    Maybe the Celtic Tiger has dragged Dublin to a different solar system. But perhaps the above model could be applied to places like Limerick.

  • acatag

    redfellow; went on Irish aircorps site.Lots of detail but no numbers there either. Ah well must rely on An Cossaintor!

  • Diluted Orange

    Parcifal,

    You’ve had plenty of say on this thread but I would prefer it if you didn’t misquote me, especially with terms such as, “blood-thirsty Catholics,” something someone else said, not me.

    Circles

    I’m not quite sure what going to grammar school has to do with the price of tea in China, but you’re right I did attend a grammar school – I don’t see how this affects the validity of what I said.

    You obviously have some sort of inverse snobbery issues – even though going to a grammar school doesn’t predispose what class you are – as it almost certainly will do when the 11 plus is scrapped, but that’s a matter for another time …

  • acatag

    DK; I wonder what their objectives would be? Newry, Derry etc I suppose they could have in the morning but Antrim? Hmm. Irish Army and reserve seem to amount to about 20,000. Equipment modern. What regular force would be up against them (numbers) What role UDA/UVF? Community defence? Total lack of heavy weaponry on orange side would surely be crucial even if green side simply in possesion of limited numbers of same. How do you stop even 80 tanks with no heavy weapons?

  • jaffa

    ACATAG

    Chartered accountant watch snob?

    Random slice of genome?

    TAWT?

  • jaffa

    Just listened to today’s press conference. Have to say the Doctor came out best IMLTHO. Gerry should have spent more time in wandering in the hills preaching to the rocks as a boy.

    This quote from Dawn Purvis on the BBC pages is precious;

    “I also think as we edge closer and closer to political stability that will have a hugely positive impact on progressive elements in society, including loyalism.”

    Loyalsim recast as a pregressive element. A charming childlike capacity for forgetfulness and reinvention.

    Bless ’em.

  • Terence Dactyl

    I never thought id say this but…

    God bless Ian Paisley…..the lovable oul nutter.

  • lapsedmethodist

    I’m amused by David Vance and others who talk glibly about the DUP and principles. You must all be either young (under 60) or amnesiacs. I remember the time when Paisleites didn’t have asses in their trousers never mind principles. They were, and are, a reaction to the 1920’s carve-up. They watched from the sidelines as Big-house unionism failed-or refused- to share out the goodies. Their first naked grab for monetary gain came about during the Workers Council Strike where -around Portadown and Armagh at least – the loyalist paramilitaries shoehorned Paisleites into pubs, garages etc. The only real threat for goons like these is if they pull the ladder up behind them.

  • The Dubliner

    Pablo, rewarding the extremists is bad policy. It simply encourages people to become more extreme. Progress is made from the middle, marginalising the extremes, not by marginalising the moderates and moving the extremes to the middle. You now have to polarized opposites who have no possibility of functioning in a system where progress must be made by consent on mutually beneficial social aspirations. The only hope is that the civil servants will relegate the extremists to the role of rubberstamping policies that are devised by saner minds.

    Don’t confuse the sectarian squalor of NI with a war between two countries wherein peace must be made between the warring protagonists. Neither Paisley nor Adams is a sovereign state that declared war upon each other, so your analogy isn’t applicable. They are simply sociopaths who primarily stirred up sectarian strife for their own career purposes, either of whom have the skills to do anything other than that which they have done all of their lives: destroy.

  • jaffa

    “neither of whom have the skills to do anything other than that which they have done all of their lives: destroy”

    they did build the two most powerful and professional parties in Northern Irish politics, as well as the structure for an illicit army and a church. they also both raised apparently confident families and both appear to have solid marriages and steadfast friendships.

    watching Dr Paisley today I actually thought he might make a more convincing salesman for Ulster that we’ve credited him so far. better than the limp wristed whining of Reg and Mark perhaps.

  • Aquifer

    “you cannot buy peace through appeasement.”

    Yes the first Paisley and Paramilitary backed illegal coup in 1974 should have been crushed by the sovereign power.

  • Aquifer

    “I’m amused by David Vance and others who talk glibly about the DUP and principles.”

    I’m sick to my belly. Paisley has demonstrated that he was quite prepared to have paramilitaries assist his mass spectaculars, and even walked in paramilitary garb himself at a rally. Was it Ulster Resistance or the Third Force he promoted?

    There is no point of principle involved in him sitting down with a paramilitary leader, despite the dog collared religiousity.

    He and his thug followers helped ensure that the road was closed for non-violent civil rights campaigners. No british citizen should have been subject to this abuse. He sowed the wind and reaped the worldwind, alienating the English from Unionism along the way.

    Quite a life’s work.

    Still, maybe someone could make carpet showrooms out of all those spare FP churches.

  • Token Dissent

    I know this isn’t going to be popular but today one of my first thoughts was for those politicans who had their careers and in many cases lives ruined by our present glorious leaders.

    On the unionist side – O’Neill, Chichester-Clark, Faulkner, Trimble, hell even William Craig were ‘Lundyised’ by Paisley.

    And what of the the two genuine social democrats in the SDLP? What would Paddy Devlin and Gerry Fitt be thinking if they were alive today? Both these men had their families and property attacked by Mr Adams’ friends, because they supported power-sharing.

    However I have to acknowledge that like Comrade Stalin I was impressed with the Paisley Junior Gerry Kelly joint interview. The most telling part for me was IP’s institence that “Northern Ireland’s political leaders” were controlling events. This term suggests that partnership in government might just take have a chance.

    It also stank a little of Paisley senior’s old anglo-phobia. The one consistency I can find between the Big Man in 1968 and 2007 is his insistence that London keeps its’s nose out! (But then by 1972 he was for full integration into Westminster…ah the contrary old fool!)

  • circles

    Dil O – went to grammar school myself 😉
    No sweat – wasn’t a class struggle type of jibe, just a joke that went down poorly!
    ALthough in saying that it doesn’t pre-dispose what class you are – hmmmmm, thats a discussion for another day.
    Lets just say – in my year of 150+ students 5 were from West Belfast / Poleglass, and around 100 from south Belfast / Malone……
    But fek that all – Ian lvs Gerry – fancy a pint?

  • lapsedmethodist

    Anglophone = no trough
    Anglophobia = trough

  • Crataegus

    At least the movement is forward, but it is creakingly slow.

    Paisley has never struck me as a great leader or as a visionary. His skill is to sense where the pack want to go and start bounding in that direction. I think this step forward is more because the population has moved on and the politicians are catching up. Slowly catching up, very very slowly.

    After the pointless 6 week delay let us hope progress will then speed up. Utter tedium.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Adams and Paisley have pasts, just remember that in the spotlight of NI The PM knows all about those pasts, even the bits that aren’t public.

    They never had an alternative other than to do what they were told, we still have London rule – the old cliche ‘when you have them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow’ was never truer.

  • DK

    “DK; I wonder what their objectives would be? Newry, Derry etc I suppose they could have in the morning but Antrim? Hmm. Irish Army and reserve seem to amount to about 20,000. Equipment modern. What regular force would be up against them (numbers) What role UDA/UVF? Community defence? Total lack of heavy weaponry on orange side would surely be crucial even if green side simply in possesion of limited numbers of same. How do you stop even 80 tanks with no heavy weapons?”

    Initially those would be the fastest gains, the former as it is close to the border and the latter as that is the main axis of any viable attack.

    The 80 tanks don’t exist, so they are hypothetical. You may as well give the Irish army an aircraft carrier!

    Anyway – if you assume this was in the 1960s/early 70s and no British troops allowed then you just have the UDR, Territorials/reservists, RUC and Reservists. The loyalist paramilitaries, like the republican ones have limited weaponry and spend too much time feuding to be of any use.

    UDR = 11 battalions, most of which were part time. Around a third of the regulars were catholic so may have loyality issues in a full scale invasion.

    TA = one regional brigade (3 battalions)

    There are some regular British units which are from NI. If they remain, they would be the main combat force:
    North Irish Horse (part of the TA, equipped with armoured cars) – under a battalion size
    Royal Irish Rangers – 3 infantry battalions.

    Against this the Irish Army consists of between 9 and 20 battalions (usually the former), but with some heavy weaponry.

  • Henry94

    Comrade Stalin

    That picture of Paisley and Adams sitting together slightly uncomfortably is going to go down in history.

    Without a doubt. And to any dissident supporters who still read Slugger I have a question. If that picture was a flag, what flag would it be?

  • Reader

    Henry94 : If that picture was a flag, what flag would it be?
    Ivory Coast.

  • BogExile

    ‘The Assembly is fundamentally dysfunctional and watching it collapse in the time ahead will be a laugh.’

    I wonder from this comment who is the more dysfunctional? The people inside Stormont who have been elected on an overwhelming mandate to share power or the people like you, resolutely on the outside, ‘standing on street corners, kings of nothing under the sun’ to paraphrase Derek Mahon.

    I hate Sinn Fein and what they stood for. I’m not that fond of the DUP either.

    But when the fundamentalists finally broke bread together, surely even the meaanest, coldest hearts were cheered. What about the dead in the ground that we both gleefully dig up and hurl at each other at the slightest excuse? Their lives and deaths were made more not less meaningful by the hope and history of the last 24 hours.

    Let the ‘gloroious dead’ on either side be stil, in the ground now and let the optimism of their children and grandchildren be the proper memorial to them.

  • nordener

    I think what folks miss in euphoria of this black farce is that they have elected Europe’s biggest bigot and Europe’s biggest terrorist to the roles of building a society free from the sectarian hatreds that both of those extremists spent their respective lives creating. Both ‘partners’ are sociopaths devoid of principle who want power for the purpose of glory and for the express purpose of defeating the other’s agenda. The people of NI have elected two blinkered jackasses to Stormont and tethered them to each end of the cart, with both jackasses pulling the cart in opposite directions. This is good if you run a fairground, but slightly less satisfactory if the purpose is far-sighted and successful administration.

    Fuck off, you Free State bastard!

  • The Dubliner

    Nordener, thanks for bumping my excellent post. You may now return to your misty mountain top and tend to your goats.