Wednesday, May 09, 2007


A Good Day to Start

First Mandela and DeKlerk, now McGuinness and Paisley. Perseverance pays off.

But perhaps more significant than the suffering and sacrifice made in pursuit of equality and justice in these two outposts of the British Empire, is the exercising of restraint in keeping their eyes on the prize. Enduring the colonial bigotry of white supremacy and religious fanaticism--that made the lives of indigenous Africans and Irish so miserable for so long--is an achievement in itself; engaging with those who incited the terror and hatred suffered by the native populations, with an eye toward a more tolerant and prosperous future, requires a devotion to humanity rarely encountered.

While we, too, have our bigots to deal with, we can take to heart the hard-earned lessons of the freedom fighters of South Africa and Northern Ireland, that in the end, the struggle is about human dignity, not vengeance, and that we cannot overcome hatred--fed on fear and nurtured on ignorance--until we understand that. Only then can we begin the healing, the reconciliation, and the constructing of a new way of life. Today would be a good day to start.


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