(picture via Still Burning, Flickr)
A blogger cannot celebrate Christmas without a positive comment. Well, I have to admit I made up that rule. But as kopfzeiler.org often has a lot of disturbing or even saddening analysis, I want to dedicate this post to one of the most positive surprises of the year 2007: The development in Northern Ireland.
“Up until the 26 March this year, Ian Paisley and I never had a conversation about anything – not even about the weather”, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said at a visit to the White House a few weeks ago, “and now we have worked very closely together over the last seven months and there’s been no angry words between us. (…) This shows we are set for a new course.“ Who would have thought a couple of years ago that controversial Unionist Ian Paisley would even sit at one table with, not even mentioning governing with a former IRA-leader like Mr McGuiness?
Now he is the First Minister and Mr McGuiness is his deputy – sensational is a word that cannot fully describe if we think back how unlikely this had seemed only a couple of years ago. Since Home Rule was re-established on May 8th 2007, no big news have come out of Northern Ireland – which is a good thing, once you take into account how violence and hate dominated this country that has been and still is so deeply divided by religious views.
One day, years from now, there might be a referendum which finally decides if Northern Ireland keeps the Status Quo or joins the Republic. But sometimes a state of indecision has its charme as well, because in this case it comes along with the state of peace. And it could last, if you believe Mr Paisley’s words: „We have had our political squabbles and fights,“ he said at the trip to the White House, „I think we have come to the end of that. I think that peace has come. There will be a fight for peace. If you want peace, you have to fight to keep it.“ For the first time since decades, the word „fight“ coming out of a Northern Irish politician’s mouth sounds not like a threat, but like a promise. Merry Christmas everyone.