SLIGHT PROGRESS MADE ON VIRUS RELIEF PACK­AGE; NORTH­ERN IRE­LAND PEACE­MAKER JOHN HUME DIES

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD - BY DANICA KIRKA

LON­DON — John Hume, the vi­sion­ary politi­cian who won a No­bel Peace Prize for fash­ion­ing the agree­ment that ended vi­o­lence in his na­tive North­ern Ire­land, has died at 83, his fam­ily said Mon­day.

The Catholic leader of the mod­er­ate So­cial Demo­cratic and Labour Party, Mr. Hume was seen as the prin­ci­pal ar­chi­tect of North­ern Ire­land’s 1998 peace agree­ment. He shared the prize later that year with the Protes­tant leader of the Ul­ster Union­ist Party, David Trim­ble, for their ef­forts to end the sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence that plagued the re­gion for three decades and left more than 3,500 peo­ple dead.

“I want to see Ire­land as an ex­am­ple to men and women ev­ery­where of what can be achieved by liv­ing for ideals, rather than fight­ing for them, and by view­ing each and ev­ery per­son as wor­thy of re­spect and honor,” he said in 1998. “I want to see an Ire­land of part­ner­ship, where we wage war on want and poverty, where we reach out to the marginal­ized and dis­pos­sessed, where we build to­gether a fu­ture that can be as great as our dreams al­low.”

Mr. Hume died Mon­day morn­ing af­ter suf­fer­ing from ill health for sev­eral years, his fam­ily said.

Born on Jan. 18, 1937, in North­ern Ire­land’s sec­ond city — Lon­don­derry to Bri­tish Union­ists, Derry to Ir­ish na­tion­al­ists — Mr. Hume trained for the priest­hood be­fore be­com­ing a fix­ture on North­ern Ire­land’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape. An ad­vo­cate of non­vi­o­lence, he fought for equal rights in what was then a Protes­tant-ruled state, but he con­demned the Ir­ish Repub­li­can Army be­cause of his cer­tainty that no in­jus­tice was worth a hu­man life.

Al­though he ad­vo­cated for a united Ire­land, Mr. Hume be­lieved change could not come to North­ern Ire­land with­out the con­sent of its Protes­tant ma­jor­ity. He also re­al­ized that bet­ter re­la­tions needed to be forged be­tween North­ern Ire­land and the Repub­lic of Ire­land and be­tween Lon­don and Dublin.

He cham­pi­oned the no­tion of ex­tend­ing self-gov­ern­ment to North­ern Ire­land with power di­vided among the groups form­ing it.

“Ire­land is not a ro­man­tic dream; it is not a flag; it is 4.5 mil­lion peo­ple di­vided into two pow­er­ful tra­di­tions,” he said. “The so­lu­tion will be found not on the ba­sis of vic­tory for ei­ther, but on the ba­sis of agree­ment and a part­ner­ship be­tween both. The real divi­sion of Ire­land is not a line drawn on the map, but in the minds and hearts of its peo­ple.”

While both Mr. Hume and Trim­ble cred­ited the peo­ple of North­ern Ire­land and the Ir­ish Repub­lic for ap­prov­ing a ref­er­en­dum that led to power shar­ing, it was Mr. Hume’s diplo­macy that of­fered the im­pe­tus to the peace process that led to the 1998 Good Fri­day accord.

Mr. Hume won the break­through in Belfast’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape in 1993 by court­ing Gerry Adams, the head of Sinn Fein, the po­lit­i­cal wing of the Ir­ish Repub­li­can Army, in hopes of se­cur­ing an IRA cease-fire. That di­a­logue bur­nished Adams’ in­ter­na­tional cred­i­bil­ity and led to two IRA cease-fires in 1994 and 1997.

The peace process was over­seen by neu­tral fig­ures like U.S. me­di­a­tor Ge­orge Mitchell, with the de­ci­sions over­whelm­ingly rat­i­fied by pub­lic ref­er­en­dums in both parts of Ire­land.

For­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton is­sued a state­ment de­scrib­ing their sad­ness.

“Through his faith in prin­ci­pled com­pro­mise, and his abil­ity to see his ad­ver­saries as hu­man be­ings, John helped forge the peace that has held to this day,” they said.

PAUL FAITH/PA VIA AP

John Hume with for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton in North­ern Ire­land in 2014.

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