Many of his long-standing critics now have another arrow to launch at him, seeing him as the most inappropriate person you could imagine to be presenting a documentary on the last days of Jesus. After all, here is a man with a very dark past, who has a cloud of allegations around him that is even darker.
What is it then that has led to Gerry Adams going from the spectre of my youth to becoming a recognised, and often admired, international statesman? Taking his chequered history away, he always comes across as a witty and intelligent man, a clearly charismatic leader and a very determined individual. I assume then it is these skills he has honed over the last 15 years rather than those that led to paths of violence in the seventies, eighties and beyond. He and his colleague Martin McGuinness have become the new men of Northern Irish politics in recent years, with a very well orchestrated PR campaign to show us just how far they’ve come. Nelson Mandela had a long walk to freedom, Adams and McGuinness have an even longer one to acceptance.
Coming back to the documentary, Gerry Adams has clearly made his peace with God somewhere along the way, I have to believe that. Surely it would be a step too far for him to be touring the Holy Land in a publicity scam. So is he a man of faith now, I do hope so, the documentary showed him praying on his bed and visiting with interest the key geographies of Jesus’ last days. Yes it was well edited and portrayed him in rather saintly light but I must say he was more than convincing.
Perhaps, he feels an affinity with Jesus; after all He too pushed for freedom, flew in the face of the occupying powers of the day and was a charismatic leader. Is that beard a mere coincidence? Obviously I am in no way comparing Adams to Jesus (be very clear about that) but it is evident that Jesus has entered Adams’ life at some point and the journey towards forgiveness has been one which has yielded positive results not only in his own life but in the lives of the majority of Northern Irish people.
So what of his critics? They are still entitled to their opinions of him of course, to continue to harbour any feelings of mistrust, anger and heartbreak that they direct at him. I know it takes a lot to get beyond those feelings, I have seen first hand the misery it can bring and the fear of violence that people live under. I also know that this was on both sides of the community. Forgiveness though is a journey, not just a moment in time. Some may never get there.
Clearly though, even in his West Belfast constituency Gerry Adams is still unpopular, with this graffiti appearing on the Falls/Grosvenor Road the morning after the documentary was shown. Perhaps no amount of public or private repentance can change some people’s views. “Saint” Gerry is still a long way off.