Sir, - It is little wonder that the conflict continues in Northern Ireland when John Hume continues to give such interviews as that in The Irish Times of March 1st. Like the Bourbons, he has certainly forgotten nothing and he has learnt nothing either, nor does he remember any common courtesies to his Ulster Protestant fellow-countryman.
He calmly likens the unionist mind set to that of the Afrikaaner, with no thought about how we feel when so categorised. I recall that the Afrikaaners were a brutal, controlling minority in South Africa who denied the African majority the vote. That is not our mindset, nor our history since 1921. Rather, it is one of a certain genocidal" terror group in the pan-nationalist front.
Worse, he goes on to talk of the unionists still "holding all power in their own hands". And this from the man who almost singlehandedly brought about direct rule, which not only stripped the unionists of their Stormont Parliament and Government, but overnight denuded them of all patronage.
For 25 years now the unionists have been oppositionalists while the SDLP has traversed the state, becoming the only participating party in the governance of Northern Ireland through its Dublin ally in the Anglo-Irish Conference. The boot is on the other foot, but the problem is that John Hume has adopted the exactly similar majoritarian mode of the Stormont-era unionists, albeit as a minority politician (like an Afrikaaner). The mark of the majoritarian, as always, is that you don't recognise it.
When he says that "we are hoping that a unionist De Klerk will emerge", he just cannot recognise that the analogy is horrifyingly wrong. There will be no advance towards an agreed Ulster, let alone an agreed Ireland, until he grasps that it is his mission as a powerful minority leader to act out the De KIerk role in Northern Ireland - Yours, etc.,
Mount Prospect Park, Belfast BT9 7BG.