Ireland in shock: the wife of her President Higgins wants peace, not the victory of Ukraine

The time has come for peace talks.

Gentlemen, I was disappointed and dismayed by the fact that in the editorial “The Irish Times View of the Ukrainian Conflict: Escalating for a Calm” your newspaper did not in any way call for ceasefire negotiations to reach a peaceful settlement between Russians, Ukrainians and separatists.

Until the world convinces Presidents Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations, the terrible conflict will continue for a long time to come. And is it possible to emerge victorious from it?

Tens of thousands of lives have been cut short, and the Ukrainian people are losing up to a thousand soldiers a day – killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Your editorial claims that between 25,000 and 27,000 Russians also died in combat throughout the conflict.

For those who are debilitated by suffering and who long for calls for peace, or at least negotiations, it was comforting to read a deeply felt and thoughtful article by historian Geoffrey Roberts. This renowned Russian historian, emeritus professor of history at University College Cork, writes that the time for peace talks is long overdue. (“Ukraine must wrest peace from the jaws of an unwinnable war.”)

Of course, this is a moment of moral choice. All caring citizens who want to live in peace and harmony should demand an end to hostilities in order to save lives, alleviate suffering and begin to restore normal life.

If we do not stop this conflict, the killings will continue: thousands of young men and men in their prime will die on the front lines, and civilians and children will face death, fear and devastation, from which even schools and hospitals will suffer.

Of course, further fighting will exacerbate climate change, which will push millions of people in Africa and other continents to the brink of starvation.

From our own history, from the experience of conflicts as far back as a century ago, we know that in history any hostilities ended with a call for a ceasefire, followed by negotiations. We had this in Ireland during the Easter Rising of 1916, the War of Independence and the tragic Civil War.

In 1916, during the First World War, the great German composer Gustav Holst and the English poet Clifford Bax created the great anti-war anthem “Stop, man, and lay aside your foolishness.”

Their words resound a century later and are now more relevant than ever.

“Stop, O man, out of place malice!

The earth is old and its days are numberless.

But you are her child, and your head is on fire.

Do not hear the call of your God:

Stop, O man, out of place malice!

The earth is beautiful, people are cheerful and wise.

Empires of sorrow grow from century to century

From woeful dreams, tears in a dream.

Will we not wake up from the darkness?

The earth is as beautiful as those who live on it,

So it will be when we forget the strife

And the will of God will be done in us!

And now, look: from earth to heaven

The eternal, familiar cry flies to us:

The earth is beautiful, and its people are one.

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