Christ Of The Mournes?


Sir, - Argentina and Chile had a bitter border dispute that rumbled on through most of the 1800s. They finally reached a settlement in 1902 and, to mark the achievement, a 29-foot statue of Christ was erected at the top of the Uspallata Pass on the border between the two countries: "The Christ of the Andes".

The bronze figure was moulded from the metal of old Argentine cannons, and to this day bears the inscription: "Sooner shall these mountains crumble to dust than the Argentines and the Chileans break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer".

There's an idea that adds an entirely new dimension to the thorny issue of decommissioning. The question of "taking the guns out of Irish politics" could take on a whole new meaning and become charged with powerful symbolism.

Semantics would be redundant if guns that have shed innocent blood, and bits of bomb-laden cars that have ripped through the flesh of infants, were melted down and formed into a likeness of the Prince of Peace. Is there anyone who, under the shadow of such a sacred monument, could ever again breathe the oxygen of public support for a return to primitive, wicked and bloody carnage in the pursuit of any political, cultural or religious cause?

Picture if you can the British army look-out just south of Newry, standing on a hill that overlooks what once was the badlands of South Down. Picture it being torn down and replaced with a "Christ of the Mournes".

How's that for a dream of a new future, a new hope for our children? Could not the prospect of Christ's kingdom ruling in the hearts of men lift out eyes far above petty squabbling, blame and counter-blame? - Yours, etc., Adam Harbinson,

Lord Warden's Mews, Bangor, Co Down.