Friday, October 27, 2006

The twin demons of Northern Ireland

I was intrigued and inspired by a letter from "Interested Observer Londonderry" in today's Belfast Telegraph. It's a bit party-political, but see if you don't agree about how the twin demons interact. Here it is ...

"The St Andrews deal ultimately marks the ending of the delinquent philosophies of Paisleyism and militant Sinn Fein republicanism.

If their desire to be social democrats is sincere then, since imitation is a form of flattery, I am greatly pleased to welcome the DUP and Sinn Fein into the real world, where the SDLP have been for 36 years, waiting for them.

I also wholeheartedly wish these parties every success in their attempts at forming a government.

However, not long ago George Mitchell, former chairman of the peace talks, alluded to Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams when he referred to the "twin demons of Northern Ireland - violence and intransigence" which "feed off each other in a deadly ritual in which most of the victims are innocent" (March 1997).

Since we all know that the cycle of violence that afflicted our country, north and south, was primarily caused by these "twin demons" of "violence and intransigence", is it not now past time that Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams stood up and accepted responsibility for their roles in the Troubles? They could at least apologise for and on behalf of the groups of people who supported them.

Their repentance would be a truly Christian act and would confirm to many people that they have genuinely changed in heart. It would also serve to put any future leaders in their respective traditions off the notion of following in their misguided footsteps and thus save this community countless more deaths on the road to the next social democratic solution to the problem."


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