History is written by the winners, they say, and in some cases the winners are those who are still alive. This is certainly true of the recent Good Friday Agreement celebrations, in which the chief architect of those agreements, Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam, was mentioned… nowhere.
In 2005 when she died, the Guardian’s obituary stated that Mo would ‘always be remembered for her part in the Good Friday agreement’:
Fast forward to 2018 and what do we find? Barely a mention of her:
This article in the Irish Times makes no mention of her;
This BBC article doesn’t mention her either:
Perhaps Channel 4 would do better? Bill Clinton called the agreement a ‘work of surpassing genius’ but one of the main architects of that genius was NOT MENTIONED.
But – y’know, hey, maybe Tony Blair mentioned her? Surely he would have paid tribute to the Secretary of State he himself appointed and who made him look like such a peacemaker before he looked like a warmonger? Alas, a google search brings up only tributes from 2005.
But there are voices being raised in protest, led largely by Mowlam’s stepdaughter:
Harriet Harman has added her voice to this:
Like them I am flabbergasted and enraged by this: from all the reports you would think Blair and Clinton did it all by themselves, whereas Mo threw herself into this work, engaging with both sides, talking to ordinary people and laying the groundwork so that the bigwigs could come in just in time for the photo-op:
“[Mo Mowlan] was the catalyst that allowed politics to move forward which led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. She cut through conventions and made difficult decisions that gave momentum to political progress.” Peter Hain 2005
This is how people – especially women – get written out of history, and here’s my tiny tribute to Mo to help ensure she is not forgotten. Meanwhile I feel a number of complaints coming on…
If you want to join me and complain, here’s how: