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The city he likes well: John Hume's Derry

Sam Hume understood about deprivation. He had been the youngest of 12 children born to a family who had moved from Burt, in Donegal, to Derry if the very first shirt-making factories started. Hume's grandfather Willie was a stone mason who arrived from Scotland to create bridges for the Donegal railroad in approximately 1850. He had been Presbyterian but wed an Inishowen girl who had been Catholic. For this very day, when Hume reveals the sort of dispassionate common sense that hot intelligence partners with Presbyterianism, Willie Hume is said.

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A family story tells how a shell burst in front of him and if not for the fact that "that the fragment struck on his belt buckle, he'd have been killed." Shortly after the war he returned to wed Annie Doherty, daughter of a docker in the rack of houses in the entry to the Bogside currently known as "Free Derry Corner"

The Doherty title is suspended in Derry history and commemorated currently in O'Doherty's Fort. For Hume, the expression really rang true. He says, "We're really fond of one another. Granny was a great buddy of mine"

The requirements of World War II brought employment to the Catholic men generally shut out of jobs in Northern Ireland. Sam Hume was employed as a clerk dispersing books and after that from the Derry shipyards fixing U.S. Navy warships. Derry was the first haven the convoys reached after crossing the U-boat-infested Atlantic; a U.S. Naval foundation worked in the port town during World War II and in the 1970s.

They had no bathroom, and the bathroom was in the lawn. "But we thought of ourselves as deprived," he explained. "We had exactly the very same as the remaining neighbors."


A few of those neighbors still live in the region, though their houses have been updated. When they discovered Hume about the speakers that they came out to greet him.


"He had been a partner of mine" Charlie and Hume leaned on the patio wall and recalled their childhood.


"There clearly was a illegal greyhound track on the opposite side of this camp," Hume said. Others nodded, recalling.


"I was the smallest"


"Aye, you're, John," Charlie agreed.


"So the pet owners would not notice me viewing. Before the race, the guy they called 'Doctor Iodine' would provide you one of those dogs a chance to liven up him. I would inform the American navy guys to wager on this one. They would win and offer me a shilling or any candies. 'Little Johnny sure knows his puppies,' they would say." Hume's recollection got a laugh out of the neighbors.


Little Johnny's intellect would alter his life.


"In 1947 I passed an examination," Hume started, "that the 'eleven-plus.' I didn't even understand what it meant. The newspapers were only handed out a day at college. It was a type of intelligence test to ascertain who would be permitted to benefit from this free education only introduced by Britain's Labour government. I passed" Because of this, Hume went to St. Columb's high school, in which his tuition has been paid from the authorities. Others were not as fortunate.


"The boy that shared the seat with me in St. Eugene's Primary School came out of a family that moved to the Quonset huts the navy left at Springtown. That is how dire the housing scenario was in Derry. His parents simply gave up. I recall him walking together by our road right here," Hume said. "I had been going on a rope attached to a lamppost -- which was the way we played. He looked at me looked away, embarrassed. I frequently think of his encounter. That might have been me. He was glowing, also, however, the drought and despair destroyed him. But I always understood God forgave him."


After Derry's revival started in the 1980s, the stigma which had attached itself to the squatters at Springtown appeared on. As opposed to revamp the region using a new housing estate, Hume chose instead to dedicate the region to corporate use. Sun Microsystems of California relies there today, producing the sorts of tasks that conserve Derry's present production in the soul-destroying hopelessness that led to tragedies like that of Hume's classmate.


The Glen men cried, recalling that the area's pride since John excelled at St. Columb's, a college that had previously been the turf of the sons of physicians and attorneys.


"Two lads are battling and he can stop them only by asking, 'Why?' After he got them speaking it was around."


"He'd Sam's brains and Annie's compassion," stated another.


When the war ended, Sam wasn't able to find work. Annie encouraged the family by sewing top kayaks in the home as piecework for its neighborhood linen factories. She fed her loved ones and half of this road by bargaining with store owners for leftovers and moments. He worked at a end of the kitchen table while John and the other kids did their schoolwork in the opposite.


Nevertheless, it was not all work from the Hume household. "My mom was a great singer. She sang us to sleep soundly each night," Hume recalled. Music remains critical in the household. A tune from Jim is a standard feature at SDLP conventions.

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Hume's discussion of audio reminded me of some thing which had occurred while I had been with him in Northern Ireland covering a 1985 unique election. The elections were called because the Ulster Unionist MPs had walked from parliament to protest a Anglo-Irish arrangement that formally gave the Republic of Ireland a function from the North. On the tape was something that he wished to understand, he explained. A lecture on economics, I presumed, or possibly a German vocabulary tape. Hume wanted to find the words appropriate for an event later weekly.


Since Hume sang, I thought concerning the front-page tales the papers had carried that afternoon about threats made against his life. Nonviolence is indeed fundamental to his creed he refused offers of armed safety. I was thankful we had been on the final leg of the trip because it was dark and late, and just the entire moon lit the spots of "black ice" on the Glenshane Pass on the path to Derry. All at both characters appeared on the side of the street. That is it, I believed -- gunmen. As it was, it was only a young couple who'd missed their last bus home. He drove them directly to their door. No words have been exchanged, as well as the Johnny McEvoy tape stored playing. It was only that Hume, always a teacher in mind, was incapable of leaving a few teenagers stranded.


After finishing his studies at St. Columb's, Hume went into the seminary at Maynooth, but finally chose to not go in the priesthood. He moved back into Derry and educated first at St. Colman's at Strabane and at St. Columb's. Pat Hume, subsequently Pat Hone, recalled first seeing John at a debate in the St. Columcille Debating Society. "He had been arguing for stronger connections with Europe," she explained.


Back in 1969, Hume's Stormont stipend barely covered his political expenditures let alone encouraged the household. At that stage, Pat left her teaching post to conduct Hume's constituency office. Back in 1983, Hume was elected Member of the Westminster Parliament for a new constituency, '' Foyle -- that comprised Derry and the adjoining city of Strabane. He was the first Catholic to represent the region in 300 decades.


The constituency office of this penis from Foyle is constantly complete, and the telephone never stops ringing. It may be Senator Ted Kennedy calling, or even a pensioner wondering why he didn't even get his coal delivered. Religion or party affiliation is not ever an issue. Pat Hume, that conducts her husband's office, makes everybody welcome.


Taking a rest from canvassing, Hume and I moved back into his house and loved a few tea at the kitchen/sitting area that forms the middle of their Humes' home from the Bogside. On the wall is an image of the Sacred Heart and also an electric vigil light that's been there because they purchased the house. Pat considers the light was burning since the house was constructed in the early 1900s. "This was a comfort once I ended up with a colicky infant," she recalled.


As she stated, "I married a little teacher" Pat is the youngest in her family by 11 decades and believes that's something to do with her naturally positive nature. She, also, passed the eleven-plus examination and had a brilliant academic career. Like this unblinking light under the Sacred Heart, there's something somewhat incandescent about Pat Hume. Sitting in that hot kitchen, I couldn't consider anything more gratifying than just sipping a glass of red wine and talking and giggling with her and anybody in Derry would concur. She's raised five kids, all of whom combine the Hume ideals of support with a feeling of fun. The two oldest girls are married and have contributed their parents grandchildren between them.


After tea, the time came to return for the last swing during Derry. We moved in different directions. Pat was going out together with the canvass teams each evening. Occasionally she did not get too much, because a knock on the door could develop into a social support session. The speaker car led for the Bog, the Creggan, Shantallow, and Pennyburn, the regions where Sinn Fein claimed to possess strong support.


It was light as seven o'clock became eight and nine. At ten times the sky was glowing. Hundreds of kids were playing, so the car moved slowly, stopping often so Hume might have a sentence with a guy in his lawn or a bunch of girls enjoying the first warm day. The kids clamored for his attention, calling out "John," with a sort of protracted intimacy that leaves no doubt that he's theirs. Two teenaged girls approached to state "If we had a vote, then you would get it."


Subsequently the Humes went home to be with just two of the grandchildren, who had the day off from college.


"We had an election within our group, Grandda," stated 7-year-old Michael.


"Great, Mick."



Subsequently little Deirdre sat Par's lap and they listened to Michael read with great play the narrative of "Puffling at a Pickle."


Hume handily won the election together with his greatest vote, and also the SDLP polled over 200,000 votes across the North.


This year's sanity started with the threat of an identical circumstance. However, as disaster loomed, a compromise with all the Unionists has been attained. The IRA cease-fire followed soon thereafter. Hume's dogged efforts in this period helped reverse the tide.

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The Humes are Derry individuals and they'll always discover the strength to last. Perhaps the key to their durability as well as their city's capacity to renew itself stems from deep inside the core of Derry, at the homes where grannies hear young readers and moms sing their kids to sleep. Here average people refused to allow fear and intimidation prevent them from living their lives. And they have won. The external appearance of the city matches their internal soul.


In a report on the 1969 documentary John Hume's Derry, where Hume revealed his town as it was and as he believed it could be, Seamus Heaney wrote:


The perfect in politics, as in writing, is just one of ethics; to set a convergence involving a public picture (speeches and activities and composing) and a private self (inherited psychological loyalties, evolving ideals, prejudices, and doubts).... In this relationship, John Hume is outstanding. His comprehension of the neighborhood is your comprehension of himself. His ambition to place Derry's house so is whole because it's obviously the expansion of an internal accomplishment of worry and tolerance. He's the very best awareness of a submerged population group, the questing compass needle of the other hidden Ireland.


Little talk and chatter aren't in Hume's repertoire, and he is likely never said a word that he did not mean. His political thought was distilled into truths which each society should hear: Identity ought to be dependent upon a positive sense of self not a negation of others; Differences have to be accommodated, and even mythical; Patriotism should mean being prepared to live for your fantasies, not to kill or die for them. John Hume is a triangular needle outside his own location and individuals, however, the fixed point is Derry. "I am a teacher, so that I say it over and over again before it goes," Hume said. Perhaps it finally has.