It has just been confirmed that Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinnes, will meet the Queen of England next week.
It is likely that they will shake hands. Symbolically this will be a huge moment. I am Irish and this is surely a positive event – it is certainly an incredible and historic event.
It will no doubt ruffle feathers on both sides but things must move on and we must let history become history. That means letting go.
Letting go of the past is not synonymous with letting go of your political beliefs.
I do think the Irish people deserve an apology at some stage, more than just for Bloody Sunday, for the entire oppressive, enforced and violent colonisation of the country.
But we certainly can’t wait for it. We certainly can’t demand it. That would be like forgiving someone when deep down you still resent them.
Forgiveness is about forgiving and moving forward. Diplomatically and peacefully moving forward.
For someone who grew up in the early eighties and spent time up north (in Northern Ireland) as a child, this is a wonderful time in Irish politics. I remember a train exploding in front of my eyes. I remember my cousin getting shot. I remember soldiers who looked like kids with huge guns on every street corner.
Those days are over.
Imagine Israel’s Netanyahu shaking hands with Palestine’s Fayyad over a cup of tea. In a peaceful region with a calm political climate and happy peoples. Isn’t that something we would all be happy to see, no matter what our political ideology?