John Hume RIP
John Hume RIP
“I never thought in terms of being a leader. I thought very simply in terms of helping people.”
John Hume, who died on August 3rd at the age of 83, began his career as a teacher. For the rest of his life he taught us how to agitate for equal rights, to care for those on the margins of society and to use words and not violence in de-escalating a vicious cycle of murder and mayhem.
He saw the value in communicating to young people as he sought to change warped generational views in a divided society that saw hundreds of disaffected young Nationalists and Unionists resort to violence. His teachings and brave leadership untangled that web of hatred and led to compromise during some of the darkest years of sectarian conflict.
In 1998 the Good Friday Agreement, of which he was one of the principal architects, ensured that a new generation of Nationalists and Unionists would view The Troubles as something that was in the past.
Blackrock College had the good fortune of his support and wise words on a number of occasions. In 1995 he was guest of honour at the launch of the environmental awareness magazine Greenwatch and in 1997 he gave an interview to the recording team on Blackrock College Radio (BCR).
John Hume was honoured by institutions at home and abroad. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. In 2010 he was voted as “Ireland’s Greatest Person” in a nationwide poll run by RTE and in 2012 he was bestowed with the Knight Commander of Saint Gregory by the Vatican.
His place in the pantheon of outstanding Irish figures is secure. We continue to learn from and be inspired by his many teachings.
“I want to see Ireland as an example to men and women everywhere of what can be achieved by living for ideals, rather than fighting for them, and by viewing each and every person as worthy of respect and honour. I want to see an Ireland of partnership where we wage war on want and poverty, where we reach out to the marginalised and dispossessed, where we build together a future that can be as great as our dreams allow.”