25 May 2009

When Does The Hatred End?

I’m starting things off today with a post that can, and will, apply to Israel and Palestine one day in the future. What is the price for Peace, and when does the hatred die? Using the Irish Peace Process as an example.

As I check this morning’s news, the first thing I saw was a report about another Irish Catholic in the North of Ireland being murdered by Pro British loyalist gangs. The answer to the Israeli/Palestine question is after the reports below:
Man 'killed by loyalist lynch mob'

Kevin McDaid, who is understood to be a father-of-three, died after being viciously attacked in the Somerset Drive area of the town at around 9.30pm yesterday. A crowd of around 40 people, many armed with home-made weapons, arrived in the area after the final matches in yesterday’s Scottish Premier League meant that Rangers won the title ahead of Celtic.
(Note: For those unfamiliar with things here, Loyalists support the Rangers Team, and Catholics support Celtic. Hence Irish Catholics are often attacked when walking home from a match and Loyalists always know that they can easily kill a Catholic after a game. It is a “sport” that has been going on here for too many years)
Sinn Fein councillor Billy Leonard said the attack on Mr McDaid, a Catholic, was based on “raw sectarian hatred”

“This is a totally devastating incident but unfortunately I have to say that I have warned that loyalists would take a life in Coleraine. They have now done that and for what?

He added: “This is raw sectarian hatred and Coleraine will now have to come to terms with this reality. There is now no room for denial and excuses. A family is reeling because sectarian hatred visited them in the form of weapon-wielding loyalists. Their lives will never, ever be the same.”

Mr Leonard said there is now immense anger and frustration in the area following last night’s attacks.
(What this means, we know only too well, see next paragraph below)
“This must stop forever and loyalist/ unionist politicians and community leaders must take a long look at the situation, be honest about its ramifications and work to finally rid this area of such hatred,” he added.

Mr McDaid’s death has sparked serious concern of further disturbances in the area where there has been a history of sectarian clashes. In August six people were injured following serious sectarian disturbances in the same area. At the time it was reported that trouble flared when up to 100 loyalists entered the estate armed with iron bars and wooden batons
(Think "Israeli Settlers" here, they attempt to burn and attack Catholics out of their homes)
Sinn Fein deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, said a "sizeable group of loyalists" were responsible for the killing and an earlier assault. "They decided it was a good idea to attack a Catholic area," he said.


SDLP assembly member John Dallat said he knew Mr McDaid's family well.
"This man was doing nothing more than going down to check on his sons and lost his life when this lynching mob from a different part of the town came along and rendered their form of justice.
The Obama administration and much of the world like to use the North of Ireland Peace Process as a shining example of what can be achieved one day between Israel and Palestine. And that does have some merit. During our troubles here, much of the world’s media attention was focused on us. Even for several years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed and the people voted their support, we still had much coverage. But stories tend to die when there is not a continual live feed of murder and atrocities to feed their viewers with. They move on to other troubles, in other countries, for other causes. And so, this leaves the very wrong perception that all is now perfect here, and that once an agreement is signed life becomes perfectly normal for people and all hatred ends..

I say this because I believe many people who want peace between Israel and Palestine, do not realise the depth of that sentence. A “peace process” takes a great many years, and a great many failures and learning curves to finally take hold. There are ups and downs continually and people die all along the way, continually. This is the price for peace, but you have to pay that price for future generations. For only when we have come to the time when several generations have lived in peace; then, and only then, will the hatred die forever……….. Will Israel be willing to pay this price for peace? I doubt it!

It can be fearful making peace, it is unreliable. Whereas war is reliable, it is known, it can be felt, it is action for those making war. They can see it, measure it's progress. But within a Peace Process, now, that is scary indeed. People have no real control on the ground, you have to give up your comfort zone, you have to give up measuring progress in the terms of how many you killed, and start measuring your progress in how many you saved.

Gerry Adams once said in his historical speech upon entering into the Peace Process in 1997: “Peace is not simply the absence of violence” a quote he took from Gandhi, and that is so very true. However, this is the "type" of peace Israel wants, only the absence of violence, without addressing the core issues which create that resistance and violence. Smart people know the difference between real peace and the repressive peace created by an aggressor and occupier like Israel. Nelson Mandela spoke of this when he said: 'What challenges us, is to ensure that none should enjoy lesser rights; and none tormented because they are born different, hold contrary political views or pray to God in a different manner."

So in light of today's murder of Kevin McDaid, let us all keep working hard to ensure any peace deal for the Palestinians,will be one that is the “right” peace deal. And remember, a peace process is just that, a process, a long process where people will die along the way like Kevin McDaid and so many others. But you have to keep your eyes on the prize, that prize is “peace” for ALL children.