Both leaders were from an Irish Catholic background.
Both their families came from simple, agrarian origins, in Ireland. Both descended from an ancient clan, perhaps no stranger to national affairs.
Both were political leaders who united diverse factions in their respective countries. They bridged gaps and opened dialogue between the middle class, the poor, ethnic and religious minorities, and political leadership.
Both were friendly to women’s rights, and supported greater inclusion for women in the highest office; at a time when this was still highly controversial.
They each were the standard-bearer of new hope, in a political landscape that was ossified, stagnant, and unresponsive to the changing times in which they lived.
Each became the spearhead of a new generation, which brought dramatic, far-reaching changes: Collins, in the form of full-scale, violent revolution and the creation of new government institutions. Kennedy, in domestic affairs, was the first US President to lend active support to an epoch-making civil rights movement on the ground, which constituted nothing less than social revolution. In foreign relations, he was first to openly challenge militaristic Cold War thinking, which had kept the world teetering on the edge of nuclear war, since the 1940s.
Both were robbed of the chance to fulfill their great promise: cut off in their prime by an assassin’s bullet. Passionately mourned by the public, millions turned out for their respective funerals.
Both died from a massive head wound, caused by gunshot; as they travelled in a motorcade, through hostile territory, in a country torn by civil discord; within 12 months of a major national election. On the 22nd.
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
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