With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.
Queen Elizabeth II on 18 May 2011, at a State dinner in Dublin Castle
You will have heard this quote a million times over the past 11 years, and especially over the past days, following the death of the 96-year old monarch last Thursday. She is being remembered by all political parties in Ireland as a great friend of Ireland and as a facilitator of the peace process.
It made me think and wonder. She was Queen when British soldiers shot and killed innocent people in the North of the country. Do we really need hindsight to recognise this as something we wish had not been done?
I read a brief summary of a Deutsche Welle radio programme today about women in the 70s who were afraid to speak up about unequal pay because they feared to loose their job.
That also made me think and wonder. It seems to be a constant in our society that people do not speak up because of fear to be severely sanctioned. Of fear to loose their job, or the support for their loved ones, or their family. And that fear is real. Primetime Investigates documented some of these real cases, which are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg.
The way back from Lourdes last Monday was a bit stressful. Someone, Ryanair or the travel agency, had decided, without even telling us, to move us from the seats we had purchased (2d, 2e, 2f), because they have extra legroom which Pádraig needs, to seats in the same row (2a, 2b, 2c), but without the extra legroom. Nobody managed to sort this out until we were on the plane and three very kind passengers agreed to move across the row. Pádraig got the extra leg room and had a good flight back home.
The new, big wheels on his chair have made a huge difference. The chair is now so much easier to push, even on bumpy footpaths, and for Pádraig it is so much more comfortable. It took months to get that done, nobody knows why.
To celebrate, we had a great Thai take-away in the sitting room with very different tastes to our own home cooking.
Pádraig also got a new neck and head support which can be adjusted by adding or extracting air. I tried it out myself and it really works very well. Pádraig put it on for his Lokomat sessions and is very happy with it.
There seems to be no end to the discovery of more efficient and supporting gadgets and ways of doing things in a better way. You just have to keep trying and pushing. Take responsibility.
A Uachtaráin agus a chairde
We do not need historical hindsight to know what is right and what is wrong. Using threats and fear and sanctions to get troublemakers into line is medieval and cannot be tolerated in a modern, inclusive, just, and democratic society.
In the words of Elizabeth, we can never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families. To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past, we should not just extend our sincere thoughts and deep sympathy, we must make sure that they are treated with dignity and respect and justice.
Anything else would be wrong, not just in historical hindsight, but today.
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