Obiter Dictum

Notes on the adventure of life.

Happy birthday Mairead Maguire

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Mairead Maguire was the aunt of the three Maguire children who died as a result of being hit by an Irish Republican Army getaway car after its driver was shot by a British soldier. Mairead was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary actions to help end the deep ethnic/political conflict in her native Northern Ireland. She shares the award with Betty Williams.


“Violence is a preventable disease.”

Mairead McGuire_sml

[Excerpt from my interview with Mairead Maguire. Photo by Jillian Edelstein]

“I believe we can solve anything peacefully if we start from the point that life is sacred, that we don’t have the right to kill someone else’s son or daughter. Yes, we have big, complex problems and yes, we are different. But we are also very much alike. The problem is that we put too much emphasis on our identities – I’m a woman, not a man, I’m a Catholic, not a Protestant – soon it becomes very threatening when someone challenges this identity; you see that clearly here in Northern Ireland, or between Jews and Palestinians. We need to learn to mellow our identities and recognize our common humanity.”

Common humanity stands as a central theme in Mairead’s vision of the future she wants to help create.

“We live in a society that desperately needs creative solutions to its problems; that requires debate on the type of future we want for ourselves and our children. We need to recognize that there is no ‘other’. We are each other,” she smiles. “Our real identity is not our ethnic or tribal identity. We need to learn to let go of that until we reach true inner freedom. Sometimes you meet people whom you can clearly see have reached their inner freedom, people like Nelson Mandela.”

Written by sabineclappaert

January 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

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