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Friday, November 19, 2004

Distractions, part two: Belfast and 'Titanic Bill'

After posting on yesterday's distraction (the talk by George Mitchell), I sat down to read today's newspaper, and once again was confronted with reminders of the Good Friday Agreement. The Irish and UK press is filled with stories about the recent flurry of meetings and consultations on resolving the stalemate that keeps devolved governance 'in suspension.' This is the stuff of headlines the world over, but interestingly it generates little more than indifference among the locals. Perhaps it's a way of avoiding the disappointment that seems to have accompanied most developments along the peace process road.... For most people here, the fact that the violence is now held in check seems accomplishment enough....

The other notable story comes out of Little Rock where folks gathered yesterday for the opening of the Clinton presidential library. All news stories indicate that the Agreement has proven to be among the most important legacies of Clinton's eight years. The highlights of the speechmaking and entertainment included Bono's comments about Northern Ireland and U2's rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday. There was also Clinton's remarks aimed at Bush, implying that he would do well to leave the same kind of legacy by helping bring about an agreement in the Middle East.

And then there George W's inadvertent reference to Northern Ireland in his comment about how Clinton's aides were in awe at their boss's resilience during the darkest times of his Administration: "if Clinton were the Titanic," they would say, "the iceberg would sink." For those who were not aware of this bit of trivia, the Titanic was built in Belfast....
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