It is with deep sadness that the Ancient Order of Hibernians learned of the passing of John Hume.
The Late Senator Robert Kennedy once said, “Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not.” In a land where an oppressive status quo had been carved into the marble of Stormont, where it was accepted that one person could have three votes while another had none, where one’s baptism defined one’s opportunities for life, John Hume dared to ask why must the generations of today be chained to the injustices of the past, why can we not choose a better future?
John Hume’s legacy in fighting for equal rights, in advocating for the solution of problems by negotiation built on a foundation of parity of esteem, was recognized in his lifetime with one of the world’s greatest honors, “The Nobel Peace Prize.” In marking his passing, let us work to enshrine Hume’s legacy not in another bronze statue, but in finishing the job to which he dedicated his life by delivering on the long-overdue fulfillment of the Good Friday Agreement.
It has become de rigueur to on the passing of such an influential figure to state, “We will not see his like again,” but certainly in the case of John Hume, this is not an empty platitude. We can not squander the chance that Hume and others have given us for lasting peace in Ireland as we may not have another opportunity. We shall certainly not have another John Hume.