Monday, March 2, 2009

why i count John Hume as one of my heroes

"Politics is about the right to existence - the right to life - bread on your table and a roof over your head. It doesn't matter what flag you wrap around you when you stand in the dole queue or are forced to emigrate to another country to earn a living. A flag should symbolise the unity of the whole community. It should never be used as a party political or sectional emblem."

"One of the fundamental arguments which we first put forward, which was a challenge to traditional Nationalist thinking, was that it was people who have rights and not territory. It was not the land of Ireland that was divided, it was the people of Ireland. The line on the map was geographical, but the real border was in the minds and hearts of the people, and that could not be resolved in a week or two."

"My party wishes to demonstrate the potential of democratic politics and of the philosophy of non-violence to make progress toward the resolution of what is perhaps one of the more intractable political problems in the world today. I believe that these same principles are applicable in the field of international relations. When we are dealing with a human conflict whether in a divided community, a divided country, or a divided globe, it is the building of mutual trust and not mutual fear that will solve the problem of conflict - not just in Ireland, but around the world - because we know that human beings are no different wherever they live."

"We all need a new and generous vision."

"Those who claim the right to kill and the right to die in the name of what they conceive to be Irish unity subvert not only the hope and meaning of unity but the integrity of their own tradition. When the most fundamental right, the right to live, is made subsidiary to a political principle, all other civic and religious values are diminished."

"Furthermore, I believe that an Ireland at peace with itself, and at peace with its neighbour, can properly address itself, in its European activities, to what is almost a political calling to maintain a particular regard for the rights and needs of the developing world. As the only state in the European Union to have been colonised rather than to have colonised, we should be able to promote an intelligent empathy with the under-developed countries whose peoples can benefit most effectively from European Union politics. Ireland, all of it, has a pivotal role to play."

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