John Cooney: Hume the great and humble has done more than many Taoisigh
Published 25/10/2010 | 05:00
AS a branch of celebrity television, RTE's 'Ireland's Greatest' series was subjected to high-brow criticism from historians for its omission of giants of nationalism and literature such as Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Davitt, Eamon de Valera, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and WB Yeats.
Yet it came up with a truly great winner in John Hume, whose popularity is grounded solidly on a record of patriotic self-sacrificing achievement appreciated by today's generation and consonant with the highest of humanitarian ideals.
Hume's unique achievement is his championship of constitutional nationalism, his courageous engagement with and conversion of IRA physical force criminals and his expansive definition of nationalism to include the unionist tradition.