A moving editorial by Bono in yesterday’s NY Times about the remarkable events that took place in Ireland last week. I’m not sure ‘grace’ is the right word, but Cameron’s humility was certainly disarming, in the most important sense. From all appearances it was one of those all-too-rare moments of public life, an instance of genuine surrender and supplication that borders on repentance. And though I would be interested to hear from the Ulstermen themselves, Bono’s note of hard-won optimism strikes me as appropriate and even a little resurrection-like (ht SN):
“What happened should never ever have happened,” said the new prime minister, David Cameron. “Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly. The government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces. And for that, on behalf of the government, indeed on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.”
It was inconceivable to many that a Tory prime minister could manage to get these words out of his mouth. It was also inconceivable — before he uttered the carefully minted phrasing — that he would be listened to by a hushed crowd gathered in Guildhall Square in Derry, a place not famous for its love of British leaders of any stripe, and that he would be cheered while speaking on specially erected screens that earlier had been used to relay images from the World Cup.
Healing is kind of a corny word but it’s peculiarly appropriate here; wounds don’t easily heal if they are not out in the open.