Bono has praised the apology by British Prime Minister David Cameron as a huge breakthrough for peace in Northern Ireland.
Writing in The New York Times, Bono stated:
"It was inconceivable to many that a Tory prime minister could manage to get these words out of his mouth. It was also inconceivable — before he uttered the carefully minted phrasing — that he would be listened to by a hushed crowd gathered in Guildhall Square in Derry, a place not famous for its love of British leaders of any stripe, and that he would be cheered while speaking on specially erected screens that earlier had been used to relay images from the World Cup."
"Thirty-eight years did not disappear in an 11-minute speech — how could they, no matter how eloquent or heartfelt the words? But they changed and morphed, as did David Cameron, who suddenly looked like the leader he believed he would be. From prime minister to statesman.
"Joy was the mood in the crowd. A group of women sang “We Shall Overcome.” There was a surprising absence of spleen — this was a community that had been through more than most anyone could understand, showing a restraint no one could imagine. This was a dignified joy, with some well-rehearsed theatrics to underscore the moment.
"As well as punching the sky and tearing up the first “Bloody Sunday” inquiry — a whitewash by a judge named Lord Widgery who said the British troops had been provoked — these people were redrawing their own faces from the expected images: from stoic, tight-lipped and vengeful to broad, unpolished, unqualified smiles, unburdened by the bile the world often expects from this geography.
Derry is a community and these Derry people looked like guests at a wedding — formal only for as long as they had to be, careful of their dead but not at all pious. Some began to speak of trials and prosecutions but most wanted to leave that talk for another day.
Figures I had learned to loathe as a self-righteous student of nonviolence in the ’70s and ’80s behaved with a grace that left me embarrassed over my vitriol. For a moment, the other life that Martin McGuinness could have had seemed to appear in his face: a commander of the Irish Republican Army that day in 1972, he looked last week like the fly fisherman he is, not the gunman he became ... a school teacher, not a terrorist ... a first-class deputy first minister.
Both Mr. McGuinness and Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, seemed deliberately to avoid contentious language and to try to include the dead of other communities in the reverence of the occasion. Though a few on the unionist side complained that the $280 million spent on the inquiry, commissioned by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998 and led by Lord Saville, a top judge, could have been used to improve Northern Ireland’s schools or investigate unionist losses, they mostly accepted the wording of the report that the deaths were “wrong” and “unjustified”; Protestant clergymen spoke of “healing” and held meetings with families of the victims."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore