A devolution or home rule is being ushered in to Northern Ireland. (Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a state to government at national, regional or local level.) Members of Paisley's DUP and Adams' Sein Finn will help make up the power sharing executive.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "Everything we have done over the last ten years has been a preparation for this moment."
The lesson for areas of the world where hatred and violence reign over reason and peace, is that understanding and resolution is possible. It is hard to stop violence once it starts. Someone's family member is killed, revenge is sought, past violent acts rationalizes future vengence, and the cycle continues. It should sound familiar as it appears on our tv and computer screens every day. Iraq, the Middle East, Somalia, Sudan, and Congo, to name a few, are violent places of war and hate. However, empathizing with others is a large part of the resolution process.
When emotions are high in the midst of such tradegy, it has to be extremely difficult to listen to the opponents' point of view in order to start resolving problems. It's better to do teach empathy before conflict arises rather than after.
The more the world falls apart through killings, hate, and discrimination, the more important emphathy is between those of different cultures, religions, political views, languages, and race. There really ought to be a United Nations agreement for all countries to have a common or similiar program of education where Understanding/Empathy is a required course, where conflict resolution is taught, where what humans of all backgrounds have in common is taught, and includes teaching what different belief systems do have in common. That is important because while there may be commonalities between diverse groups, there are often different approaches, i.e., customs, rituals, prayers, no prayers, to achieve good goals. That needs to be acknowledged, understood and respected. For example, Paisley and Adams are Christian but their sub-religions approach it differently. Unfortunately, centuries of viewing the other side as extra-terrestrial aliens, clouded the fact that they were of the same species, who have the same basic needs in life.
The historic deal in Northern Ireland brings hope to all other fighting groups in the world. The direction is positive and hopefully the deal will stick. If peace can happen there it can happen for other regions at war. Hopefully, those fighting will see this as an example to live by, and begin a new trend in resolving socialized hatred, and ending the most horrific atrocities we see daily.