BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Protestant leader Ian Paisley, who spent decades refusing to cooperate with Northern Ireland's Catholic minority, was elected Tuesday to oversee a power-sharing administration alongside his longtime Sinn Fein foes.
The joint government is designed to consign to history decades of violence that claimed 3,700 lives.
Paisley immediately affirmed an oath pledging to cooperate with Catholics and the government of the neighboring Republic of Ireland — moves that the evangelical firebrand had long denounced as surrender.
Seconds later, Sinn Fein deputy leader and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness accepted the No. 2 post of deputy first minister.
McGuinness, 56, affirmed the same oath, which required all ministers to support the Northern Ireland police and British courts — a position that Sinn Fein refused for decades to accept.
Well, hell has officially frozen over. It's incredible (in a good way) that this finally happened, and it would be even more incredible if it actually works.
If you aren't familiar with the conflict in Northern Ireland, it has historically been every bit as violent and hateful as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In some ways, even more so.
And if you'd like to read about it, The Troubles is a fairly comprehensive reference, although take fair warning that it is very dense and not an easy read.