Ireland’s only “eternal peace flame” extinguished because of “environmental factors”…

Is the Cosmos trying to tell us something?

Technical problems that have extinguished Ireland’s only eternal peace flame have been described as “deeply disappointing.” The flame, housed in Londonderry city centre’s Peace Garden, has not burned since late October.

It was first lit in 2013 as part of the Bright, Brand New Day peace initiative. Its organiser said the flame has been beset by problems since its installation.

It fell to Reverend David Latimer of First Derry Presbyterian Church to say what the rest of us must be thinking:

Perhaps it is a sign that peace is never straightforward, never without its bumps and bends in the road.

Michael Longley’s more worldly take on the matter:

On the one hand, I’m interested in how we avoid tearing one another to pieces. Peace is not that, peace is the absence of that, peace is the absence of war: the opposite of war is custom, customs, and civilization. Civilization is custom and manners and ceremony, the things that Yeats says in “A Prayer for My Daughter.”

We have a vocabulary of how to deal with one another and how to behave, a vocabulary of behavior, as well as things to say to one another . . . and out of that come laws and agreed ways of doing things . . . and that in daily life are a bit like form in poetry.

And this from Umberto Eco…

‘Universal peace is like the desire for immortality: so difficult to achieve that religions promise immortality not before but after death. 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.’

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