Wednesday, May 09, 2007

If they can do it

I've just nicked the surface in studying the history of Ireland, which I began when I started traveling there in 2005 for work. I know hardly anything. There is a pretty good novel that covers the whole history called Ireland: A Novel, by Frank Delaney, if you're like me and don't know where to begin.

But there are moments in history that I live through, see with my own eyes, that I know send a wave of relief and hope into all the dimensions of life. After 4 1/2 years of the Northern Ireland Assembly not meeting, then coming to an agreement, and then reassembling, I got chills watching Ian Paisley, Martin McGuinness, Gerrie Adams, and others meet, smile, shake hands and move forward together this week.

Ian Paisley, First Minister, and Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister, of the Northern Ireland Assembly (photo from the Irish Times)

I'm old enough to have seen events that shatter peace like this in Ireland, in Israel, Kashmir, South Africa, Zimbabwe, wherever. You almost hate to let the sliver of hope in. Where people are, there are not only love and desire for peace. There are also belief and opinion, closed ears, anger, distrust, jealousy, pain, memory, torture, violence. Strange to think about, but even I am capable of these traits, because I am human.

I just want to mark the moment, note the laughter, feel the warm handshakes, hold the hope, for at least this moment and gather it all, fold it up and send it out like a paper airplane to whomever will catch it.


Ginnie said...

Oh, I missed this, Ruth, with all my back-n-forths to Nicholas' this week. I need to go turn the news on right now!

Cross our fingers, hope to die!

Rachel said...

What poetry- the paper airplane definitely made it to my office- landed right on my desk.

Rauf said...

We follow Irish constitution. i always compare Indian and Irish history Ruth. i can say the Irish have every reason to be angry.

The attitude of the Brits was different in India. They chose not to touch the local culture, they even turned a blind eye to human sacrifice, and they kept the evil cast system alive for their own advantage, to make matters worse, the higher cast, being very clever and timid chose to win favours of the Brits.
They did not make any attempt to impose English and wipe out Indian languages. How many can they wipe off ? We have just too many. Brits learnt Indian languages and the higher cast learnt English, willingly without any force or imposition. What a marraige ! The official language during British period was Urdu. The Brits are the greatest manipulators in the world.
They adopted divide and rule policy
as a consequence we are suffering now. The communal bloodshed which they started continues even today.

The attitude of the Brits in Ireland was very different and hundred times brutal. They wiped out the local culture. People following old faiths(harmless pagans witchcraft, which was nothing more than nature worship) were burnt alive. Gaelic language was completely wiped out. The best of English literature that came out was from Ireland and it continued even after Easter Rising, bloodiest revolt in human history.

The Brits were heartless in occupied Ireland, most cruel. Bobby Sands went on a fast in prison, i think during Margret Thatcher's time, they just let him die. The administration did not even make an attempt to open negotiations or made any attempt to keep Bobby Sands alive. Their occupation of Northern Ireland is illegal. There will be no peace until the Brits leave.

i am keeping my windows open Ruth, i think the plane has landed here, i feel your warmth. You and people like you could be the cause of global warming Ruth. i still maintain that love kindness compassion and warmth is highest in history at the moment and hope it goes higher and higher and your plane reaches all the windows of the world.

Rauf said...

By the way Ruth, i finally watched 'Inconvenient Truth' have to say a lot about it.

Rachel said...

Rauf, I really liked your comment about global warming! So true!!!

I am showing little bits at a time of the movie Ghandi to my yoga class right now. I get chills and tear up every time I see it. And every day the kids ask, "Are we gonna watch more of that movie today?!"

Ruth said...

Ginnie, crossing everything, yes? Only men make wars. Maybe we women can do more to protest. Like the women in Africa who boycotted sex with their husbands until they stopped fighting. Or sit on the road by the President's ranch. Good grief, what's wrong with people?

Ruth said...

Rachel, that's good. Now you mail it to someone else! :)

Ruth said...

rauf, it's heart-breaking. I remember last summer when we were in Ireland and you made the comparison with India, and I was fascinated. We saw the film "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" when we were there, about the Black and Tans, and their brutality. Now it has been released worldwide, maybe you can see it.

I like what you said about global warming too.

And sometime we need to talk about Gore's film in g-chat, eh?