Photo: Peter Morrison/ap
To My Brothers and Sisters in Ireland:
Oh. No. Not again. Who is that dragging you down that dark lane again? Down where the shadows are thick, and the big dogs and hard men wait? Who dares to drag you back to the place of guns and bombs ? Where the shattered lives and all the pain carried down from father to son to mother to child stains the ground with the blood of decades? Who would do such a thing - again?
See, y’all have been getting on so well lately. Your brightest stood up and called a peace. And, when you all said, “Peace? “ and the other side nodded, looking you straight in the eye, and answered: “Peace.” a funny thing happened. People watched for a bit, resisting the recalcitrant who sought to keep the “troubles” boiling. Then they started to believe. They peeked out of their doors, walked out into the sunshine, and grabbed hold of their lives. Working. Playing. Laughing. Living. Loving. Sitting in pubs and cafes. Talking – really talking. Nodding to each other on the street, Catholic and Protestant. To each other. And, while doing all that, you let the fear slide away into the gutter.
No, you did not give up your armories, but I figured as long as you did not use them, I don’t care what you have hidden under the hill.
It seems that not everyone is walking on sunshine. Not everyone has put the darkness to rest, letting go of the pain and the grudges. Because this week two British soldiers and a policeman were killed in separate acts of protest against the Northern Ireland peace process. Protesting the peace process. As if all the decades of injury and death weren’t enough. As if eleven years of peace and children who don’t have nightmares of bombings were worth nothing.
What would come next? Reprisals? Another generation dragged into darkness, bitter and stunted by a hatred that should have been broken long ago?
No. No? No.
It seems you Irishmen like your sunshine. Turns out the Irish sunshine is stunningly beautiful. And, you hate that long, dark lane. So, there you are standing against the return of the troubles. Catholic and Protestant standing
And we, your brothers and sisters from around the world, stand with you in your sunshine.