Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 19, 1999
A woman's crusade for peace in N. Ireland
The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland., by Mairead Corrigan Maguire, edited by John Dear. Orbis Books: Maryknoll, N.Y., 1999. 124 pp.
Review by WAYNE HOLST
Special to the WCR
Some of this century's best articulated designs for peace have emerged from places tragically devastated by violence. Gandhi's India and Mandela's South Africa are two of the more notable examples.
The Vision of Peace is a poignant testimony to the Gospel at work in persons whose spiritual perception helps them transcend sectarian conflict to chart a hopeful way forward.
Maguire became committed to the peace movement of Northern Ireland in 1976 days after her young niece and two nephews died. A British army patrol shot and killed a 19-year-old IRA volunteer whose car then skidded out of control and onto the sidewalk where the children were standing.
She won the Nobel Peace Prize that year for playing a major role organizing some of the largest peace demonstrations in the nation's history. She co-founded the Community of Peace People to carry the initiatives growing out of these rallies.
This book, released within a year of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement signed by all parties in the prolonged conflict, provides a good selection of Maguire's speeches and articles on peacemaking.
"Northern Ireland is a microcosm of the world," she says. "We have diseased relationships. We have two cultures that have never learned to live together as brothers and sisters. Look around the world today and you'll find even on your own doorstep that humanity has not yet learned to deal with these problems."
Permeating the material is a strong, integrated appeal for personal, political, economic and environmental justice.
The beginning of world peace must start within each individual. Envision a world without war; moving from there to understand and forgive; treating all creation with respect and compassion.
Discovering the circumstances from which this appeal comes makes the message hard to discount. Here is a clarion call arising from the ashes of human self-destruction.
(Wayne Holst is a lecturer at the University of Calgary.)