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grammaire anglaise > groupe nominal > syntaxe et sens


N1 + of + N2


sens figuré / imagé,



the hands of history





permutation N2 + 's + N1 impossible


???the history's hands

















The hands of history:

Two worlds come together

to broker a new era of hope

David McKittrick witnesses the first meeting
between the two commanding political figures in Belfast
as they calmly sit side by side to discuss
the future of Northern Ireland


Published: 27 March 2007

The Independent


Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams did not shake hands yesterday: they had no need to, since their manner of signalling they are ready to go into government together produced an even more telling and forceful image.

The substance of what they said was breathtaking enough, but the way they did it was even more phenomenal: they sat calmly side by side, exuding a sense of purpose and the intention of doing serious business together.

The picture of Belfast's two commanding political figures, flanked by their senior lieutenants, carried a subliminal but unambiguous message: after 3,700 deaths the Troubles are over and real politics can begin.

The two warriors of the Troubles believe they can work together. The statements they delivered in the ornate surroundings of a Stormont dining-room were exquisitely crafted to avoid giving anyone offence.

The big news they contained was that Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party will be going into government together, launching a new era and underpinning the peace process with a political foundation.

But even more striking was the absence of accompanying threats or conditions - no begrudgery, no condemnations, no blame game. The two listened carefully and politely to each other, conveying something new in Belfast politics - mutual respect.

For many months, London, Dublin, Washington, republicans and just about everyone else have pressed Mr Paisley to go for power-sharing with Sinn Fein. He has finally done so, and done so handsomely, with no hint of reservation or even tension. Until now, he has not even spoken to Mr Adams or any Sinn Fein representative, leading some to assume that no breakthrough could be expected at their first encounter.

But a breakthrough came and, by letting the cameras in to witness it, the parties provided an image that will take its place among key moments in other peace processes across the world.

Many in Belfast reacted with shock and awe: shock that the leaders of loyalism and republicanism should have finally struck a deal, awe that it had been done without histrionics but in such a business-like manner. Mr Paisley announced the timetable for devolution with a phrase no one has ever heard him use before: "Today we have agreed with Sinn Fein that this date will be Tuesday 8th May 2007." He added: "We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future."

The two statements were studiously symmetrical. Mr Adams provided an echo by accepting that "the relationships between the people of this island have been marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy." He continued: "The discussions and agreement between our two parties shows the potential of what can now be achieved."

The sense of mutual satisfaction was also evident in London and Dublin, with the two governments cock-a-hoop at what they describe as the successful slotting in of the last piece of a jigsaw that has taken a painstaking decade to put together.

Tony Blair said proudly: "Everything we have done over the past 10 years has been a preparation for this moment." The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, lauded the deal as having "the potential to transform the future of this island."

There was also a welcome from the United States, since the Bush and especially the Clinton administration have been closely involved in the peace process. Washington said it looked forward to the dawning of "a new era for Northern Ireland".

Although long anticipated, the actual accomplishment of an agreement for government caused near-incredulity on the streets of Belfast.

The Government long ago set yesterday as a deadline, with the Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, proclaiming - more than 50 times, by the DUP's count - that it was "devolution or dissolution." A meeting of the Assembly set for noon yesterday was abandoned, and the transfer of powers from London postponed until 8 May. But the loss of six weeks of devolution is regarded as a negligible price to pay for such an advance.

Although a devolved administration was expected at some stage, until yesterday many wondered how well it could function if Mr Paisley maintained his no-talk stance. As First Minister he would, in particular, be expected to work alongside Martin McGuinness, who last night accepted the post of Deputy First Minister after being nominated by Sinn Fein. Mr Paisley has, however, now specifically said he will have regular meetings with Mr McGuinness.

It will be fascinating to see what relationship may develop between the Protestant patriarch and the one-time IRA commander. But if yesterday's introductory Paisley-Adams performance is anything to go by, the expected friction may be less than anticipated, given that the two men have spent a full generation eyeing each other from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Their lives have in a sense been intertwined. One of the formative political experiences of Gerry Adams's life was a bout of serious rioting that broke out in the Falls Road area of Belfast in 1964, when he was 16.

In his biography, Mr Adams blamed the disturbances on "a rabble-rousing, sectarian anti-Catholic demagogue named Ian Paisley" who had threatened to remove an Irish tricolour from the district. In the years since then, Mr Paisley has reciprocated by describing Mr Adams with a battery of uncomplimentary names. Those early riots pre-dated the Troubles proper, in which the loyalist and the republican were to play prominent roles.

For decades, Mr Paisley flew a strictly fundamentalist flag, insisting that attempts to form power-sharing governments involving Unionists and nationalists were to be opposed at all costs. As leader of the Democratic Unionist party he denounced Unionist leaders who sought to set up cross-community governments as traitors, an attitude that he maintained with extraordinary consistency from the 1960s until a few years ago.

Mr Adams, as the republican movement's outstanding leader, was equally opposed to such arrangements, though from an entirely different perspective. He held they were diversions from the central problem, which he defined as the British presence in Northern Ireland.

While the pair maintained those positions for decades, Mr Adams was the first of the two to broaden his analysis and definition of the issues, seeking secret meetings with a range of political figures and others.

By the 1990s, those efforts produced an IRA ceasefire as republicans tested the proposition that the negative power of their violence could be replaced by entry into politics, with votes proving more effective than guns.

This peace process, which reduced but did not remove violence, was - in its early years - a highly controversial project, with Mr Paisley leading the ranks of those who condemned it and wanted it closed down.

But as the death rate fell and a semblance of normality returned to Belfast, the benefits of the process became clear. It provided huge benefits to Sinn Fein, whose vote rose dramatically so that it has become Northern Ireland's largest nationalist party.

The process was much more problematic for Mr Paisley, who was opposed to the whole thing in principle and by gut instinct. But his party nonetheless accepted posts in a power-sharing administration while refusing to attend cabinet meetings with Sinn Fein, a stance that rivals described as "semi-detached".

Republicans have remained solidly attached to the peace process, with the IRA eventually decommissioning its armoury and saying it was going out of business.

A key moment came when the DUP grew to become the largest Unionist party, a position that meant Mr Paisley would get to be First Minister in any new administration. That gave him the chance of moving on from perpetual opposition and into powerful office.

He and his party brooded on the options for many months. Its choices were to simply say no, thus blocking the formation of a new administration, or to agree to take part in a coalition dominated by itself and Sinn Fein. He would be First Minister but it would mean placing hmself at the head of a project he had spent years condemning.

While the signs are that he decided some time ago that he would go for devolution, a defining moment came earlier this month with elections to the Assembly. His party scored a triumphant victory, banishing candidates who were opposed to power-sharing.

On Saturday, a resolution supporting power-sharing was put to his party executive and passed overwhelmingly, with some in the ranks who had seemed to be doubters changing their position to one of support for the idea. All of that amounted to approval for Mr Paisley going into government with a united party and indeed a united Protestant electorate behind him, a level of support that gave him the confidence to do business with his lifelong foes.

What happens next?

* The clock is ticking towards 8 May, the date set for the transfer of powers from London to the Belfast Assembly. In the meantime, both Sinn Fein and the DUP will attempt to postpone unpopular new water rates. They will also be calling on Gordon Brown to increase a £1bn boost planned for the new administration. In the next few days, work will also begin on a programme for government to be ready for devolution. On 8 May, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are to be nominated as First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The Assembly's four largest parties will also nominate 10 departmental ministers.




Shaking the world

* GORBACHEV and REAGAN (19 November 1985)

After more than 40 years of nuclear brinkmanship, the two met in Geneva to talk about scaling back their arsenals and did the unthinkable - they shook hands.

RABIN, ARAFAT and CLINTON (13 September 1993)

Bitter rivals Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands at the White House. It was the ultimate symbol of commitment to the Middle East peace process by two men who were seen as lifelong enemies

MANDELA and DE KLERK (4 May 1990)

Mandela shook hands with the person who had come to symbolise the government that imprisoned him. Although they remained bitter rivals, the moment came to symbolise their commitment to South African society

NIXON and MAO (February 1972)

Setting aside two decades of bitter animosity, Nixon's surprise visit to Communist China in 1972 and his subsequent handshake with the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong, was described at the time as a meeting that "shook the world".

BEGIN and SADAT (26 March 1979)

The first of the Middle East's momentous handshakes, with Jimmy Carter at the White House, sent shockwaves through the region. It ended 30 years of war between Israel and Egypt, but led to Anwar Sadat's assassination.

The hands of history:
Two worlds come together to broker a new era of hope,
I, 27.3.2007,

















 Editorial cartoon:

*Chris Riddell


Tony Blair and his beliefs

Chris Riddell on the former prime minister’s

response to the Chilcot report


Sunday 10 July 2016    00.05 BST






















































































Voir aussi > Anglonautes > Grammaire anglaise > Niveau avancé


N + of + N

catégorisation > syntaxe et sémantisme

permutation impossible



N + of + N    /    N + 's + N

syntaxe et sémantisme > permutation impossible



formes nominales



formes nominales > pronoms




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