Category: Archive

Once more with….

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Granted, there are places in the world that are more tranquil than they have been in a long time.
Northern Ireland is obviously a standout and those who call the Six Counties home have particular reason to believe that little bit more in the never changing message of this special season.
Over the next year, the politicians now running much of Northern Ireland’s day-to-day affairs will find reason to disagree and squabble but we are not alone in having the sense that most of them more or less agreed on the bigger picture – and that picture is framed by the mutually supporting goals of continued peace and economic progress for all.
Northern Ireland, then, has reason for particular hope and optimism this season but it is also something of a rare case. Conflict and the deprivations that arise from it are still prevalent in far too many parts of our world.
We are made especially aware of this through the work of aid agencies such as GOAL and Concern who deserve our support at all times of the year.
Of course we look at wars through varying lenses. Iraq is a case in point. Some believe it justified, others argue vehemently that it is not.
We do, however, manage to separate the participants in a conflict from the fighting itself. So many who disagree with the Iraq war are at pains to express their support for our troops.
Our political leaders, by turn, cut deals with factions in the fight that were once opposed to us and seek to use them against other groups that still are.
We talk of the primacy of peace even as we justify all manner of contradictory actions to achieve it.
The glaring contradictions of our existence on this earth are never so illuminated as this time of year when we turn our eyes to images that can only be construed as peaceful, or symbolic of peace: the Christ child in the manger, snow scenes, people gathering together to celebrate, the star leading the three kings to Bethlehem.
Only Bethlehem is not an especially peaceful or happy place these times. It sits in a place that is the scene of one of the more intractable conflicts that humankind has managed to inflict upon itself.
And yet, there are those to meet and talk about peace in this place too.
We talk a lot about peace; wish it lavishly upon one another. And, to our temporal of not eternal credit, we continue to do so no matter how discouraging the headlines.
Over the next few days much of the world will be in a kind of lull. People will take stock and look ahead to the New Year making all sorts of promises and pledges. Most of them will quickly fall by the wayside; some will stay the course.
Still, we have to believe that no matter what, the world will be a little better off.
And on that note we hope that you and yours will find reason to feel better off in every sense of the word during this holiday season and beyond it.
Nollaig shona dhuit go l

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