Peace is the most important thing

by danielbarker on 4 October, 2019

Peace – we take it for granted don’t we.

It’s an absence of something – violence – rather than a tangible thing. And yet for those who have lived through terrible violence, peace is a prize well worth having, and once achieved must be prized above everything else, because warfare – the lack of peace – is a nightmare that no-one should have to live through if they can avoid it.

I was born in the 70s. For me, ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland and bomb threats on the mainland were part of my childhood. I was not directly affected – unless you call an occasion when I was stuck in traffic that had ground to a halt because a threat to blow up a motorway – but via the news, and the occasional personal testimony, I became aware of the horrors that arose out of the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and the frightening terrorists who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

So when peace was finally achieved, both in Northern Ireland and on the mainland through the Good Friday Agreement, it was like a miracle had occurred. To get people who hated one another to put down their weapons; to get people steeped in violence to work to achieve their objectives peacefully was beyond what anyone born in the 70s thought possible. For us, there had always been terrorist violence, there would always be the Northern Irish problem – until it ended.

Twenty years on, we take that miraculous peace for granted. But certain politicians are acting like its unimportant. They are not only taking peace for granted, they are prepared to put it on the gambling table; to put it at risk so they can achieve their political objectives.

See this extract from an article in Microsoft News about Boris’s Brexit plan:

The plans require the currently suspended Northern Ireland Assembly to approve the new arrangements, with a vote every four years – something which has caused concern in Ireland.
Stormont voting structures mean a bloc of members of the Legislative Assembly from either the nationalist or unionist community – which includes Mr Johnson’s DUP allies – can veto certain decisions, even if a majority of members back them.
Mr Coveney said: “We cannot support any proposal that suggests that one party or indeed a minority in Northern Ireland could make the decision for the majority in terms of how these proposals would be implemented in the future.”

Peace in Northern Ireland may be at risk. Peace was achieved through members of all communities feeling that the ‘other side’ had not won. If one side gets a veto over an important issue such as this, the other side will feel that they have lost, that democracy has failed them. And then they will go back to the ways of violence. We must not let that happen. The peace which all of us enjoy is FAR more important than any ‘benefits’ the UK might achieve through Brexit.

Even the ‘I’m alright’ brigade would not be alright if their peace was interrupted by a terrorist bomb. Let’s do more than hope it will not come to that. Let’s tell our MPs not to vote for anything which puts the Good Friday Agreement – and the peace that goes with it – at risk.

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