Have you noticed? Everybody is out there Promoting* my new Liam Lynch book, “This Should Never Have Happened.” (Out soon). Joining the list this week were Lord Saville with his long-delayed Bloody Sunday Massacre (1969) report, and new UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and The Irish Times.
[* OK –perhaps some of it was indirect. But, “indirect” is good! More subtle! (Don’t you think?)
I just wrote to The Irish Times, in response to David Adams’s fine article. For those of you who don’t get the Irish Times, I reproduce it herewith.
The reconciliation developments in Ulster continue to be miraculous –the Clouds of Polarization have, apparently, parted (and are being dispersed) and a wonderful, all-embracing grace has descended on a Contentious Nation.
Nay, a Contentious World!
Let us all embrace it, be proud of it, value it, take it into our own lives.
And export it to the Middle East and all the other “It’s Not-Me” Nodes of Contention in our poor world.
[Memo to BP and Wall Street: Give me a call –I want to talk to you!]
“Thank you so much, David Adams, for your fine words about the Saville Report and the Cameron Apology. They were the right words for all of us who look beyond victory to resolution.
It has long struck me that we have so very few examples of magnanimity in our culture or our history or our literature to inspire us. For the one example more than any other that is established in my mind, I had to go back to two words that the Reverend Bede uses in “Ecclesiastical History of the English People.” In it he describes his great Irish friend, Saint Aidan, the abbot of Lindisfarne monastery –with whom he had some disagreements (on opposite sides about the Synod of Whitby, for example) as –wait for it– “a man of Outstanding Moderation”.
Oh, how our world misses, aches for Outstanding Moderation! I find the “better angels” grace that has overtaken both Reverend Paisley and Martin McGuinness as nothing less that miraculous. (I recently saw Mr. McGuinness explain it to U.S. TV interviewer Charlie Rose as ….”It’s a question of leadership, Charlie!”)
It is a great achievement; one of which Ireland and Britain –including the flawed but laudable Tony Blair and Bill Clinton– should be jointly proud, to have arrived at. It is one that we all should exert great effort in understanding and embracing.
And then set about explaining it to the world. Even exporting.
First stop? –the Middle East!
It’s a question of Leadership.
(By way of possible explanation of my thoughts here, I might explain that I have for the last two years been engaged in examining and writing about General Liam Lynch, Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army, and shot by the Free-Staters on April 10th, 1923 –the last shot in the Irish Civil War. Poignantly –and pointedly– his dying words were “This should never have happened.”
Liam Lynch (an uncle of mine, by the way,) was without doubt a man of great courage and intense committment, but he had come to see that he was going to have to make a truce and end that bitter war. He was a mere 29 years old when he died.
I should say that In my account I strove to be objective and compassionate, and above all to maintain intellectual integrity, –such as it is. I suggest that 29 years may have been a little young to have achieved “Outstanding Moderation.”
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