Terrorist no more?
Considering my fixation with Northern Ireland it is not surprising though that I should feel compelled to comment on the Historic Moment. In case you hadn't realised, the IRA is giving up its armed struggle.
Let me just repeat that statement above: the Irish Republican Army, the Provisional Irish Republican Army to be precise, is promising not to fight for the rights of the Irish people by any but democratic means.
That is amazing. Of course the Reverend Ian Paisley, the leader of the extreme unionst* DUP, after yelling "Hand in your weapons terrorist scum!" for ages is now screaming "Don't believe them!" or something to that effect. You'll excuse me for not being the Reverend's biggest fan. Mind you, it can be easy to get impatient with the unionists in general. You see, after years of negotiation the IRA finally hands in its weapons. The debate about decommissioning has caused innumerable crises and resignations in all sorts of governments. The unionists have been asking for it for years. It finally happens and what does the leader of the most mainstream unionist party say?
"People are so sceptical, having had...been burnt so many times before.
UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said people needed to be convinced
This is not simply whinging or being difficult about it, it's being simply factual that we've had so many statements before that haven't been kept.
And as far as the whole criminality is concerned, I mean, there are huge multi-million-pound smuggling rackets that have been run by the IRA, the bank robbery that was only recently held at the Northern Bank, which was the largest in British history, so, you know, people are going to take some time to see."
As my corporate self I teach a course in Communication and Negiotiation** and one of the things I tell people is "know when a win is a win".
Generally, in negotiations, when you get what you ask for, this is considered a win.
I am, of course, being deliberately unkind to the unionists. The truth is that they and other sceptics have a point. In fact, to be totally honest, I think even the Evil Reverend has a point in his reaction. I am not going to quote him, look for yourself, I don't want anything to do with that mad bigot. It is true that the IRA has failed to carry out commitments before, though their outstanding PR obscures that fact. You know what though? I believe them. I even believe that scary up-to-his-ears-in-blood demagogue Gerry Adams (mind the link, it is his own party). He has been keeping things quiet, and that is something to be grateful for. I'm sure everyone can appreciate that peace, too, is something to be grateful for. So let's enjoy it. Let's acknowledge this event for what it is: the proof that positive evolutions are possible in terrorist conflicts, and that sometimes terrorists can turn into politicians.
There's not too much of that around recently.
*unionists = people who wish to see NI as an integral part of Britain (=United Kingdom)
**which goes to show that big companies too have a sense of irony