Tuesday 30 May 2017

Both the DUP and Sinn Fein have angry supporters to placate

Only Martin McGuinness could have held that dysfunctional coalition together

Former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness Photo: PA
Former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness Photo: PA
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

'What's going on in Northern Ireland?" Even as they ask that dutifully, I can see the life draining out of the faces of my interlocutors, British or Irish, terrified they might get a lengthy explanation.

I'm very unusual in loving and being fascinated by the place, not least because over the past few decades I've learned there so much about the positives and negatives in human nature. I've encountered degrees of hatred and cruelty I've never experienced elsewhere, along with astonishing courage, kindness and forgiveness.

If you've observed up close how an ideology obsessed with ethnicity and territory - what Germans called blood and soil - could make neighbours kill neighbours, you are constantly reminded that we can never take peace for granted and that savagery is never far from the surface with our species.

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