Peggy Noonan: Everything Old Is New Again Europe--yes, even France--gives us a taste of the future.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Who woke up Old Europe? France, Ireland and England this week showed us the future. They were the center of the new. It looked good. We can learn from them.
First Ireland, which Tuesday formalized a peace that most who love that country would not have thought possible in our lifetimes. And it was barely noticed, as sometimes happens with good news. But the Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland ratified a power-sharing agreement in which they will govern together and forswear violence. Everyone knew it was coming--the voters had backed it--yet the sight of it, the Ulstermen and Catholics standing together in the Stormont, and the words, took one's breath away. Here is 81-year-old Ian Paisley, the Unionist firebrand whose life was shaped by his passionate advocacy for the Protestants and against the IRA. There was pain in the past, he said, but "that was yesterday. This is today. And tomorrow will be tomorrow. From the depths of my heart, I can say to you today that I believe Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule."
What a way to mark the new century. What an example for the world. We learn what we already know and need always to be reminded: Breakthroughs can happen even in the oldest, most tortured conflicts. Hearts change. So much of Ireland's energy the past hundred years, the past 500, has gone to conflict. What will that energy go to now? What will it make? It will be exciting to see. the rest
Peace miracle: Blood turns into wine in Northern Ireland party