Ian Paisley dies

In of those most responsible for the divisive hate that existed in Northern Ireland has died.

The Rev. Ian Paisley, the divisive Protestant firebrand who devoted his life to thwarting compromise with Catholics in Northern Ireland only to become a pivotal peacemaker in his twilight years, died Friday in Belfast, his wife said. He was 88.

Paisley was Northern Ireland’s most polarizing politician throughout its three decades of civil strife, during which the evangelist’s blistering oratory was often blamed for fueling the bloodshed that claimed 3,700 lives.

It is unfair to blame deaths on Ian Paisley, he is not responsible for the various nutters on both sides of the argument who fought words with bombs and guns.

When the Democratic Unionists increased their Assembly strength in March 2007 elections, Paisley insisted he wouldn’t start talking face-to-face with Sinn Fein, never mind form a Cabinet with them.

Yet within a few weeks, Paisley appeared alongside Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams live on TV to declare that their two parties had buried the hatchet.

“We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future,” Paisley said in that address, the first time he ever shared a platform with Sinn Fein.

In the coming year, Paisley forced commentators to re-acess his legacy. Had he mellowed, or had he simply demanded the impossible and held his ground until his enemies delivered it?

To the surprise of many, Paisley embraced his new role as Northern Ireland’s first minister with a relaxed demeanor, most strikingly when working alongside his government co-leader, former IRA commander Martin McGuinness. The two men said they formed a genuine, mutually respectful relationship. Joking together at events, they were dubbed “The Chuckle Brothers” by a disbelieving local press.

Ian Paisley was no Nelson Mandela, but like Mandela he too changed.

We have something of a transformation happening in NZ too, with Tame Iti standing for parliament rather than protesting from the sidelines.

 

– NZ Herald


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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