So the IRA are disarming and renouncing violence.
Right now, we are preoccupied with Islamic terrorists and probably will not appreciate the significance of this development. Even among Irish-Americans there has hardly been a ripple on our consciousness. In the age of Osama, Gerry Adams seems a bit of a leprechaun.
I heard someone on the radio last night -- BBC News -- saying that 3,600 people lost their lives in 30 years of violence -- the Troubles. Loyalist paramilitaries, IRA soldiers, British Troops, the RUC -- killers and defenders and avengers of 800 tragic years of British hegemony in Ireland.
Donald Rumsfeld thinks we'll be in Iraq for 15 years. I wonder how long the Brits thought they would stay in Ireland?
Why have the IRA decided now to lay down their arms? Have they finally exhausted the support of the Catholic people of the north? Or do they expect an imminent victory by political means? What gives?
I don't know and I don't care why the IRA have decided to stand down. All that matters now is that the people of Ireland have taken a step towards a lasting peace.
They have their future now in their own hands. My family have been here in America too long for me to claim much of a connection to a country I have never seen, but my heart is with the Irish today.
As the Irish lay their claim to peace, I am left hoping that some of that spirit may catch fire in the hearts of people elsewhere in the world. The Irish have saved civilization before; perhaps it is not too much to hope that small nation will show the way to peace.
Wishing peace for Ireland and for all of us,