Letter: Talk peace with the unspeakable

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The Independent Online
Sir: The letters sent to John Hume (report, 24 November), from people of all traditions on both sides of the Irish Sea, speak of a longing for peace which transcends even the most bitter hatred.

I was in a taxi in Belfast shortly after the Shankill bomb. I sympathised with the driver, 'a Presbyterian man and boy'. He stopped the cab and burst into tears. 'My people are being slain, and only Hume will talk to the people who are doing it. Why can't you people see that's what we want?' He then asked me to pray with him.

There has been much talk about the meetings between Rabin and Arafat and De Klerk and the ANC, with many pointing out that these situations are in no way comparable with Northern Ireland. What they do demonstrate, however, is that when mutual self-interest is strong enough, it is possible to talk about the unthinkable with those one has regarded as unspeakable. It is the peace-makers who are blessed.

Yours faithfully,


Rector of Liverpool

Liverpool Parish Church