■ Just once did John Hume let his stoic mask slip in the face of his peo­ple’s suf­fer­ing.

John Hume, 1937-2020

Irish Examiner - - Front Page -

Tributes poured in yes­ter­day for the late John Hume. From Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins to the Clin­tons, from Gerry Adams to Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Boris John­son, here is a brief glimpse at the es­teem in which the SDLP leader was held.

John Hume, through his words, his as­tute diplo­macy, and will­ing­ness to lis­ten to what was of­ten dif­fi­cult to ac­cept but was the view of the ‘other’, trans­formed and re­mod­elled pol­i­tics in Ire­land, and the search for peace, with a per­sonal brav­ery and lead­er­ship in­formed by a stead­fast be­lief in the prin­ci­ples and val­ues of gen­uine democ­racy.

John’s deep com­mit­ment to th­ese val­ues and his prac­ti­cal demon­stra­tion of tol­er­ance and so­cial jus­tice, of­ten­times in the face of strong op­po­si­tion and tan­gi­ble threats to his per­son and his fam­ily, as­serted the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of democ­racy. He and those oth­ers who helped usher in a dis­course that en­abled a new era of civil rights and re­spon­sive gov­ern­ment that few would have thought pos­si­ble, have placed gen­er­a­tions in their debt, have been a source of hope.

Mar Uachtarán na hÉire­ann, as Pres­i­dent of Ire­land, may I say how deeply grate­ful we all should be that we had such a per­son as John Hume to cre­ate a light of hope in the most dif­fi­cult of times.

■ Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins

Through­out his long life, he ex­hib­ited not just courage, but also for­ti­tude, cre­ativ­ity and an ut­ter con­vic­tion that democ­racy and hu­man rights must de­fine any mod­ern so­ci­ety.

For over four decades, he was a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for a gen­er­ous, out­ward­look­ing, and all-en­com­pass­ing con­cept of na­tion­al­ism and re­pub­li­can­ism. For him, the pur­pose of pol­i­tics was to bring peo­ple to­gether, not split them apart.

Dur­ing the dark­est days of para­mil­i­tary ter­ror­ism and sec­tar­ian strife, he kept hope alive. And with pa­tience, re­silience, and unswerv­ing com­mit­ment, he tri­umphed and de­liv­ered a vic­tory for peace.

“While the 1998 Good Fri­day Agree­ment was the prod­uct of many peo­ple’s work, can any­one re­ally claim that it would have hap­pened John Hume?

He didn’t just talk about peace, he worked un­stint­ingly for peace, at times in the face of the most vir­u­lent crit­i­cism and risk to his life. He knew that to be a peace­maker on this is­land meant be­ing a risk taker.

John Hume’s life was one of tow­er­ing achieve­ment. His vi­sion was re­alised and while ill­ness took away his voice, his pres­ence re­mains all around us on this is­land in the form of po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­with­out ity and he has left us a pow­er­ful legacy of peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

■ Taoiseach Micheál Martin

His cho­sen weapon: An un­shake­able com­mit­ment to non-vi­o­lence, per­sis­tence, kind­ness, and love. With his en­dur­ing sense of hon­our he kept march­ing on against all odds to­wards a brighter fu­ture for all the chil­dren of North­ern Ire­land. 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.

His legacy will live on in ev­ery gen­er­a­tion of North­ern Ire­land’s young peo­ple who make John’s choice to live free of the ha­tred and hor­ror of sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence. And it will en­dure in the hearts of those of us who loved him and will be shaped by his ex­am­ple of the end of our days.

■ Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton

Right from the out­set of the Trou­bles, John was urg­ing peo­ple to seek their ob­jec­tives peace­fully and was con­stantly crit­i­cal of those who did not re­alise the im­por­tance of peace. I will re­mem­ber a lot of things about John, things that we did to­gether, po­si­tions that we took, not al­ways in agree­ment with each other, there was dis­agree­ment as well.

He was a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to pol­i­tics in North­ern Ire­land and par­tic­u­larly to the process that gave us an agree­ment that we are still work­ing our way through. That’s hugely im­por­tant and that’s some­thing that he will be re­mem­bered for in years to come.

When the (No­bel) cer­e­mony was over and we re­tired to the ho­tel, we found that ho­tel was as­sum­ing that the one party would be in one room and the other party would be an­other room. We said no, we’re go­ing to re­lax and cel­e­brate the achieve­ment to­gether with all our com­pan­ions that had come with each of the par­ties there. I think that was a clear sig­nal to peo­ple about how we were go­ing to pro­ceed.

■ Former Ul­ster Union­ist leader David Trim­ble, who was jointly awarded the No­bel Peace Prize along with John Hume. John Hume was our Martin Luther King. He was the great­est Ir­ish­man ever and he achieved some­thing that no one could ever achieve be­fore him: He ended the An­glo-Ir­ish con­flict, the con­flict that had gone on for 800 years, and he gave my gen­er­a­tion the op­por­tu­nity to achieve our po­lit­i­cal goals peace­fully and demo­crat­i­cally, and that is an enor­mous legacy.

■ SDLP leader Colum East­wood. His place in Ir­ish his­tory is richly de­served. De­spite the pres­sures on him, his fam­ily, and his beloved Derry, he dis­played great moral, phys­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal courage. He never — not for one mo­ment — de­parted from a com­plete in­sis­tence on the non-vi­o­lent ap­proach to our prob­lems in North­ern Ire­land

Hume’s con­sis­tency pro­vided a com­pass through some ter­ri­ble times. He was the first to look for so­lu­tions be­yond North­ern Ire­land to and the US — a gift of vi­sion ac­knowl­edged by the first leader of the SDLP, Gerry Fitt. He was a born teacher and we have learned so much from him.

■ SDLP co-founder Austin Cur­rie John was a gi­ant in Ir­ish pol­i­tics. He and I had many dis­agree­ments, and that’s a very, very healthy thing to do and to have, but then we were able to talk and to ac­tively pro­mote the pri­macy of pol­i­tics, of di­a­logue, of in­clu­siv­ity and so on, which then led to the Hume-Adams talks.

I have to say on this sad day we wouldn’t have the peace that we en­joy to­day if it wasn’t for John Hume.

I think he was gen­er­ally a brave man. If you look at some of the old footage, the one that al­ways strikes me is of Mag­illi­gan Strand. If you look at him be­ing wa­ter­can­noned and be­ing in the mid­dle of the fra­cas that oc­curred around some of those early civil rights marches.

I think what was sig­nif­i­cant was he was a Derry man, so he wasn’t in an ivory tower, he wasn’t in a lit­tle bub­ble. He was pre­sented by

Fa­ther Alex Reid with the pos­si­bil­ity that if we could shape an al­ter­na­tive, we could shape a new po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion. And be­ing given that pos­si­bil­ity, he then bent his will over a long time to cre­ate with me and other what we now have.

■ Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams John Hume was a po­lit­i­cal ti­tan; a vi­sion­ary who re­fused to be­lieve the fu­ture had to be the same as the past.

His con­tri­bu­tion to peace in North­ern Ire­land was epic and he will rightly be re­mem­bered for it. He was in­sis­tent it was pos­si­ble, tire­less in pur­suit of it, and end­lessly cre­ative in seek­ing ways of mak­ing it hap­pen.

Be­yond that, he was a re­mark­able com­bi­na­tion of an open mind to the world and prac­ti­cal pol­i­tics. In any place, in any party, any­where, he would have stood tall. It was good for­tune that he was born on the is­land of Ire­land.

I was for­tu­nate to work with John on the Good Fri­day Agree­ment but also to get to know him years beEurope fore. He in­flu­enced my pol­i­tics in many ways, but his be­lief in work­ing through dif­fer­ences to find com­pro­mise will stay with me for­ever. He will be greatly missed.

■ Tony Blair, who was Bri­tish prime min­is­ter when the Good Fri­day Agree­ment was signed. Ev­ery so of­ten we come across a per­son of vi­sion, who lifts us up to see and think be­yond the con­fines of our own, much nar­rower, per­spec­tives.

John Hume was such a man of vi­sion, whose dreams were chal­leng­ing but al­ways achiev­able — whether it was ‘peo­ple help­ing peo­ple’ in a credit union or ‘coun­tries as­sist­ing coun­tries’ in the Euro­pean project — he lived out the prin­ci­ple of “Ni neart go cur le cheile” (there is no strength without work­ing to­gether).

■ Catholic arch­bishop Ea­mon Martin. John was a gi­ant fig­ure in Ir­ish na­tion­al­ism but also in the wider life of North­ern Ire­land.

Whilst he was recog­nised across the world, there can be no doubt, how­ever, that his loss will be most keenly felt in his home city.

My thoughts and prayers are with John’s fam­ily and friends at this dif­fi­cult time. We think espe­cially of his wife Pat, his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. I hope they take some com­fort from the peace he helped to cre­ate.

■ North­ern Ire­land First Min­is­ter Ar­lene Foster John Hume was quite sim­ply a po­lit­i­cal gi­ant. He stood proudly in the tra­di­tion that was to­tally op­posed to vi­o­lence and com­mit­ted to pur­su­ing his ob­jec­tives by ex­clu­sively peace­ful and demo­cratic means.

For decades he sought res­o­lu­tion of the Trou­bles in North­ern Ire­land through di­a­logue and agree­ment.

Without John Hume there would have been no Belfast or Good Fri­day Agree­ment.

With his pass­ing, we have lost a great man who did so much to help bring an end to the Trou­bles and build a bet­ter fu­ture for all.

■ Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Boris John­son

Pic­ture: Gerry Penny/Getty

SDLP leader John Hume in buoy­ant mood as he ar­rived for talks at Du­nadry Ho­tel on May 21, 1998, with Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Tony Blair and Ul­ster Union­ist leader David Trim­ble ahead of the fi­nal push for a yes vote in the next day’s ref­er­en­dum.

John Hume with his wife Pat at home in Moville, Co Done­gal, in May 2017. From ‘Ire­land: Frame by Frame’ by Pádraig Ó Flannabhra.

Pic­ture: Getty

John Hume in Septem­ber 1969, then an Ul­ster MP, with his chil­dren, Aine, 7; Therese, 8; Ai­dan, 5; and baby John.

Pic­ture: Gerry Penny/Getty

U2 front­man Bono with David Trim­ble and John Hume on stage dur­ing a con­cert at Belfast’s Water­front to pro­mote a yes vote in the peace ref­er­en­dum.

A man walks past the Bog­side mu­ral in Derry of John Hume, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, and Nel­son Man­dela yes­ter­day, as the death of the former SDLP leader was an­nounced.

Pic­tures: Liam McBur­ney

Tributes left in front of a mu­ral in the Bog­side of Derry yes­ter­day.

Pic­ture: Martin McCul­lough

No­bel Peace lau­re­ates John Hume and the Dalai Lama in Oc­to­ber 2000.

John Hume with Nel­son Man­dela at the South African em­bassy in Dublin in April 2000.

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