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.’

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Kevin Breslin

    Sad news in a way.

  • aquifer

    Too windy?

  • 05OCT68

    I know some of the guys that work in the DC&SC maintenance department, they’er about to get dogs abuse.

  • the rich get richer

    Can this Extinguisher from the heavens be used on Bonfires .

  • 05OCT68

    The “Heavenly Extinguisher’s” gonna put all our lights out one day.

  • Nevin

    In yesterday’s news:

    But a spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council, who look after the flame, said they have now pin pointed the problem.

    They admitted the flame is susceptible to weather, but added: “We have carried out an examination of the Peace Flame and discovered damage to an internal component that needs to be replaced.

    “Council is currently sourcing this component with a view to repairing the Peace Flame and returning it to full working order as soon as is possible.”

  • the rich get richer

    Could it do for Bonfires in the meantime ?

  • Cadogan West

    Was it powered by LPG or natural gas? The connector over in Baumgarten Austria went up with a bang.

  • 05OCT68

    Some would have it that it depends who light them.

  • the rich get richer

    Could they not get some well Granted Wood Pellets ? I am led to believe there was a Very Lucative Offer Available in recent memory . It could at least have smouldered and perhaps some white smoke too .

  • William Kinmont

    Had anybody let Susanna Hoffs know?

  • Barneyt

    I suppose its the role of any clergyman, in this case Reverend David Latimer, to offer up some form of cliche, that belongs in the realm of fantasy and superstition. Its a sign! Its a sign!. The gods have spoken! Oh hold on, they only believe in the one god? Why limit your options thus? Perhaps best in this instance to look at the craftsmanship alone and level of care applied.

    There is perhaps the more accurate parallel. Taking care of the flame so it serves as a reminder to take the same care of the peace process. In reverse however, the lack of usbandry afforded to stability and peace would have extinguished that flame long before October.

    We live in a world where might is right unfortunately and bullying the norm. We also live at a time when the wrongs of the past have been baselined and are now accepted as the norm and a fundamental basis for the institutions we try to establish or restore. When we deviate or agiitate for change, we are deemed not to play ball, even if there is a ligitmate reason to baseline using a different set of variables.

    Perhaps the flame was lit for all the wrong reasons in the first place and it should remain as it is until we have something worthy of illumination.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    In short, it’s a sign (revelation?) that mankind is made up incompetents at best and destructive bastards at the most realistic. La voie de Dieu est impénétrable.