Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bloody Sunday

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What Really happened on Bloody Sunday? We’ll never really know. We could find out some facts, which definitely did happen. These following paragraphs show what definitely did happen.

On the 0th of January 17, 14 Catholics were killed (thirteen died on the day a fourteenth died later in police custody from the injures suffered on that day) when soldiers of a British paratroop regiment opened fire during a civil rights march in Londonderry/Derry.

The march began around ten-to-three in the afternoon. About 10,000-15,000 people gathered in Creggan Estate planning on walking to Guildhall Square in the centre of the city where a rally would be held. The march was illegal because the Stormont Parliament had banned protests such as this.

At twenty-to four the marchers met Paratroopers who had sealed off approaches to Guildhall Square. Because of this blockade, the marchers went down Rossville Street in the direction of Free Derry Corner. A group of marchers stayed behind and threw stones and missiles at the soldiers. The soldiers returned fire using rubber bullets, CS gas and water cannons. This forced protesters to take cover in Bogside. The paratroopers in armoured carriers moved in, their orders to arrest protesters they moved down to Rossville Street and Bogside. Now what happened becomes misty. Soldiers say that they just returned fire from protesters and the Catholic community say that soldiers shot randomly at unarmed civilians. The results of 5 minutes of gunfire are undisputed 1 civil rights marchers were left dead a fourteenth died later in police custody from his injuries.

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But why did the British Army fire shots at protesters? This is something we shall never know. But one of the most likely explanations was that the paratroopers were scared of possible violence because of the violence in the past weeks and months, in one event the IRA and British Army had a shoot out killing several IRA members and a British soldier so tensions were high.

The reasons why civil rights marchers organised such a huge rally was a protest against internment. Internment was where people in Northern Ireland, suspected of being terrorists could be arrested and put in prison without any trial. Soldiers, police or other government officials could come into your home and arrest you without any due cause.

Irelands third Prime minister in under a year Brian Faulkner at dawn on Monday the th August 171 officially started internment. This was due to counteract the IRA violence of the past few months. th August 171 000 British Soldiers backed up by RUC Special Branch Officers, who provided the out-of-date intelligence. The RUC officers who were well known for being Protestant and discriminative against Catholics were left to control the operations.

In that day alone over 00 Catholic men were arrested. In the following 48 hours due to out-of-data intelligence 104 were released without charge. One 80-year-old man was arrested for being an IRA terrorist; he admitted he use to be but hadn’t being for over 0 years. As he struggled to walk, he said he was flattered that even after so long he was still counted as a threat to mainland Britain.

The remaining internees were severely beaten, deprived of food and sleep and subjected to white noise. The government was being accused of torture; people suspected of having information even if it only was an army hunch were beaten even if they knew nothing (The picture to the left is one of those detainees it is clear the torture he suffered, he was only released when the Army realised that he knew nothing).

This internment did nothing but provoke more violence, in the year before interment 4 people were killed, in just three days after were killed and many more were to follow.

This interment was to only increase support for the IRA many now still didn’t join the IRA but no longer condones its actions. This led to hundreds of street demonstrations one of course being Bloody Sunday.

Why was the overwhelmingly number of protesters Catholic? Simply because the Catholics were the ones being interned, as the unionist government wanted to crush the IRA and the IRA being a Republic organisation and Republicans mainly being Catholic. But there was a much wider problem so internment was not the only reason they were marching they were protesting for equal human rights for people independent of whether they were Catholic or Protestant.

The Catholics were fed up of being nd class citizens they found the law was mainly Protestant. Employment was given to Catholics first. Housing was even discriminative but two ways. Politics was extremely Protestant, probably because of vote rigging. 8 nationalist councillors in Derry/Londonderry represented by 14,000 Catholics while 1 Unionist councillors represented by ,000 Protestants. Even the way people voted was so that Unionists won elections. 1 house= 1 vote so the Unionist government gave more houses to Protestants therefore making sure they had more than one vote.

Why was there a rift between Catholics and Protestants? This is due to discrimination of the Catholics by the Protestants; this rift can be traced back centuries. As far back as the 1th century and Henry II invasion of Ireland. The conquered Irish land was given to the English. The Irish were also angered by the fact that these new settlers had more power and privileges than their counterparts. From then till the act of Union in 1800 England and Ireland were frequently at war with each other. During James I reign in 1601 war against Ireland was declared and again under Oliver Cromwell’s control war was declared against Ireland. These wars and privileges mad the Irish very angry and anti-British.

The above wars were all about power and land. Religion didn’t come into these wars until 154 when Henry VIII was the King of England. Henry VIII and his ever changing marriages, in 154 Henry VIII wanted a divorce and the Pope wouldn’t give it to him (because the Pope was being threatened by death by Catherine of Aragón’s brother (Catherine of Aragón being Henrys current wife)). Henry in his power decided to break away from the Pope and set-up the Church of England, this angered the Irish, as they wanted to keep as Roman Catholics and refused to join the Church of England. As well as that he also angered the Irish by stating that he was also the king of Ireland.

When James the II was put in exile out of England in the late 160’s, through his sheer jealously of the Protestants who threw him out, James II raised an army to attack Protestants in Londonderry/Derry. The new king of Ireland, William of Orange, defeated James at the battle of Boyne. The Orange Order still marches to commemorate that day. The Orange Order marches are another of today’s reminders of the division between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Although the act of Union ended the wars it caused its own problems. Irelands parliament had to be closed and England took over control of Irish law, the icing on the cake was that Irelands new laws would by passed by Westminster, London not in Ireland. These generally unwanted laws meant that there were job restrictions on certain jobs meaning Catholics had the restrictions and Protestants didn’t.

The great potato famine of 1846 was when Irelands anger built up and began to erupt. England had failed to help the millions of starving so there was a split in the population. One section wanted Ireland and England to be totally separate countries these were generally the people who suffered the worst during the famine, as they were generally poorer so lived on cheap potatoes. These people in general were Catholics who were also Nationalists and Republicans. The other wanted Ireland and Britain to be linked; in general these people were Protestants who in general were unionists and loyalists.

There was the Partition, the partition was not really an event, it was a process, which took place between 10 and 1. The partition was the Split of Ireland into two parts-

Northern Ireland

Eire/Southern Ireland

Its main terms were

Six of Ulster’s counties became Protestant and became a self-governing Northern Ireland, with its own Parliament in Belfast.

The remaining 6 counties would also become self-governing with their Parliament in Dublin.

Britain keeps control of issues such as military naval facilities.

On Easter Monday, April 4, 116, a force of Irishmen under arms estimated at between 1,000 and 1,500 men and women attempted to seize Dublin, with the ultimate intention of destroying British rule in Ireland and creating an entirely independent Irish Republic to include all counties of Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connaught. Their leaders, Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and the others, knew that their chances of success were so slight as to be almost non-existent. Yet they fought, and died. Why?

The circumstances that led to the Irish rebellion of 116 are of an intense complexity, historical, social, political and, perhaps above all, psychological. The Irish writer, Sean OFaolain, has written of his country Most of our physical embodiments of the past are ruins, as most of our songs are songs of lament and defiance. The Easter Rising was a complete failure, which left large parts of Dublin in ruins; yet without it Ireland might never have been free of English rule. The leaders, alive, had very few supporters even among the Irish patriots; dead, they became and have remained their countrys heroes. It was a great historical paradox, and one that to this day the British have perhaps never understood. Had they understood it, it is conceivable that the British might still have an empire, since the overthrow of British rule in Ireland marked the beginning of the overthrow of British imperial might in Asia, in Africa, and elsewhere.

Died later as a result of his injuries received that day

I have found some reasons why Britain and Ireland had such bad relations. The hatred built up over centuries and erupts as marches and riots, the conflict is from years ago but still effects peoples lives today.

I am going to be studying three main pieces of evidence into what Happened on Bloody Sunday. Below is an overview of them all

Lord Widgery Report Lord Saville Inquiry Jimmy Mc Governs ‘Sunday’

When done 17 18-present (expected completion in 004) 1-15

Time taken 10 weeks 6 years years

Conclusions Army innocent None yet Army guilty

Additional information Widgery supported the actions of the army only condemning them for being a little quick. Interviewed hundreds Lived with relatives of those killed and interviewed army witnesses

Didn’t interview key army witnesses Expected cost of £150 million Mc Govern was born in Liverpool with a Catholic majority could of being biased because of this.

There is conflicting evidence from Bloody Sunday mainly on who fired first. Others include whether or not the IRA was present. The army would not now admit that it fired first as this would contradict what they said earlier this would cause huge embarrassment for them and saying it in court of law would bring up questions about the army and who really controlled was it the elected government or themselves. The marchers would also not admit to firing first as this would mean that people would stop being sympathetic towards the marchers and their cause.

The problems with the Widgery report? The government has long shared the wide spread view that the Widgery Report was unsatisfactory and that it did not represent the truth of what happened on that day. Indeed, the very disregard with which the Widgery Report was viewed by nationalists, particularly those in Derry/Londonderry, has meant that they have largely ignored it, so far removed was its version of events from the reality of what they believed happened in Derry/Londonderry on the 0th January 17. On three other hand, for the British authorities, the Widgery report remains the official version of events. On the basis of the Widgery report, compensation was granted to the next of kin in 174 and in 1 the British confirmed the innocence of those killed by reference to the Report’s finding that none were found guilty.

The problems are mainly inconsistencies between statements, but these problems widened to show reports, statements being kept from the eyes of relatives. Also they found clear indicators that after soldiers had written these statements alterations were made to them and soldiers were often ‘advised’ what to say in the tribunal hearing. Widgery made no mention of bullets fired from city walls but it has being made clear by former soldiers and factual evidence such as how the bullets entered the body, some were from a trajectory only possible from the city walls.

Staff of the Widgery report have also being accused of fabricating aspects of the soldiers statements in an apparent attempt to justify the killings. The Widgery inquiry never took notice of a who said the lead particles found on the bodies of the deceased could of got there from contact with the bottom of a army vehicle or in touch with a soldier who fired a weapon. The Widgery report had being commissioned by Edward Heaths Conservative Government. Therefore would it be critical of its own government? I think not, it would try to justify the killings. The report only took 10 weeks the Saville inquiry is going to take at least 6 years and Mc Govern’s ‘Sunday’ took three years, these are massive differences could the Widgery report find the truth in 10 weeks that it is going to take Saville 6 years to find out?

It can be concluded that the Widgery Report was fundamentally flawed. It was incomplete in terms of its description of the events on the day and in terms of how those events were apparently shaped by the prior intentions and decisions of the authorities. It was a startlingly inaccurate and partisan version of events, dramatically at odds with the experiences and observations of civilian eyewitnesses. It failed to provide a credible explanation for the actions of the British Army, particularly the actions of 1 Para and of the other British Army units in and around Derry. It was inherently and apparently wilfully flawed, selective and unbalanced in its handling of the evidence to hand at the time. It effectively rejected the many hundreds of civilian testimonies submitted to it and opted instead for the unreliable accounts proffered by the implicated soldiers. Contrary to the weight of evidence and even its own findings, it exculpated the individual soldiers who used lethal force and thereby exonerated those who were responsible for their deployment and actions.

Above all it was unjust to the victims of Bloody Sunday and to those who participated in the anti-internment march that day in suggesting they had handled firearms or nail-bombs or were in the company of those who did. It made misleading judgements about how victims met their death. The tenacity, with which these suggestions were pursued, often on flimsy or downright implausible grounds, is in marked contrast to the many points where significant and obvious questions about the soldiers’ behaviour, arising from the Report’s own narrative, are evaded or glossed over.

There have been many atrocities in Northern Ireland since Bloody Sunday. Other innocent victims have suffered grievously at various hands. The victims of Bloody Sunday met their fate at the hands of those whose duty it was to respect as well as uphold the rule of law. However what sets this case apart from other tragedies, which might rival it in bloodshed, is not the identity of those killing or killed, or even the horrendous circumstances of the day. It is rather that the victims of Bloody Sunday suffered a second injustice, this time at the hands of Lord Widgery, the pivotal trustee of the rule of law, who sought to taint them with responsibility for their own deaths in order to exonerate, even at that great moral cost, those he found it inexpedient to blame.

The new material fatally undermines and discredits the Widgery Report. A debt of justice is owed to the victims and their relatives to set it unambiguously aside as the official version of events. It must be replaced by a clear and truthful account of events on that day, so that its poisonous legacy can be set aside and the wounds left by it can begin to be healed. Given the status and currency which was accorded to the Widgery Report, the most appropriate and convincing redress would be the Saville inquiry a success.

Problems with the Saville inquiry? We don’t fully know the problems of the Saville inquiry, as it has not yet being completed. But the major dilemma we do know it faces is time, it has being thirty years since Bloody Sunday, views vary over years people remember and forget things; its our natural instincts. Evidence has being lost imperative witnesses have died bullet holes will no longer exist the will of being covered over by layers of cement, bodies will of decomposed. The Saville inquiry though is trying to be as through as possible with what it has and is looking for new verification and finding it, but unfortunately it can never establish the whole truth as it is no longer possible, but can still find some and give some indication of what happened on Bloody Sunday.

Jimmy Mc Govern’s ‘Sunday’ is based primarily on fact but there is a lot of fiction intertwined into it but it looks like it is fact. It can be very hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. Prime examples of this are the meeting between the Prime Minister and Lord Widgery he would of never of known what was said and it would of being said ‘off the record’ so no written information could of ever being found about it, on the helicopter going and leaving the Widgery report he would not of known what the soldiers said and thought- it was fiction. It was a docu-drama if it was just the truth it might not of being as interesting it was made to be shown on television so it may of added bits in for this purpose. Mc Governs own background could of made him naturally sympathetic’ towards the Catholics views. He was born and grew up in Liverpool, which is widely known for its high majority of Irish-Catholics, he may of being able to relate to the Catholics better than the Protestants.

Overall the trustworthiest is probably going to be the Saville inquiry, as it has no influence on the current government if it talks badly about the current government, as the Widgery report did. It has more chance of reaching a balanced conclusion. The Widgery report had to be the least trustworthy as it didn’t get all information before making judgements some evidence was being ignored. The whole thing had massive gaps in it. The balance of evidence from both sides was lacking. The nd trustworthiest is Jimmy Mc Governs ‘Sunday’ as it was biased to Catholics but not nearly as biased as the Widgery report was for the government. It had fact but a lot of fiction was also intertwined, although it did accept some protesters were carrying guns.

However unfortunate we know we will never know the full truth on Bloody Sunday there are too many conflicting arguments and nobody will take responsibility for their actions. We will discover some truth from the Saville inquiry but no enough to make definite conclusions. We will never know who shot first although there are accusations that it was Martin Mc Guinness or Soldier H but which one if either we shall never know. Time is a big problem facing the Saville inquiry and Mc Govern. People move people die. Bodies decompose. Places change. We may not like it but no inquiry will bring out the full truth until people start coming forward saying what they did, the man who fired first if still alive if he came forward he could help but will probably take his secret to the grave with him.

What I believe happened was a solider in the corner of his eye thought he saw a gun and shot in that direction, other soldiers and marchers who were carrying guns fired resulting it 5 minutes of undisrupted gunfire and 14 dead. I think both sides have equal responsibility the army fired large amounts of bullets into densely crowded areas and civilians with guns caused some to be shot. I do think many of the Civilians shot were shot by snipers on the city walls. I do believe some of those killed did or were carrying guns but not all of them, but I don’t know which were guilty and which were not.

Bloody Sunday is commemorated today by minute silences, peaceful marches, laying flowers and wreaths, trust funds trying to clear the victims names and grieving the loss in your own home by just stopping and sparing a thought for those who died.

Above are pictures of a march through Derry/Londonderry commemorating the 0th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

The annual Bloody Sunday march; retracing the route the civil rights protesters drew about 0,000 people when it took place on the Sunday of commemoration of the 0th anniversary.

Bloody Sunday is commemorated today because people are still angry with the government for the Widgery inquiry and still upset that 14 died due to British soldiers who were suppose to be the ones protecting them.

Bloody Sunday will not be forgotten because to relatives and People of Derry/Londonderry, Bloody Sunday is an open wound, which will not be healed until Britain admits its troops were culpable and the victims are totally exonerated.

The events of Bloody Sunday did absolutely nothing but make sure current troubles carried on into the 1st century. Security analysts and politicians concede that it marked the end of a phoney war the start of all out violence. Tony Blair said ‘ we must justice so the peace process can begin’ another leading politician said ‘I have lived a long time and no troubles have affected us as a nation as the Northern Ireland troubles.’ Disaffected Catholic youths swelled the ranks of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) because of it and joined its hit-and-run campaign to drive Britain from Ireland.

After these men had joined, the IRA needed to be seen to be doing something. So in probable revenge for Bloody Sunday on the nd February 17, an IRA bomb killed 6 at the Aldershot headquarters of the 1st Parachute regiment of the British Army. Ironically, it was the same regiment that killed the civil rights marchers, so you can see why I said in probable revenge for Bloody Sunday. 10th September 17 bomb rocks London. 0th April 174 death toll of troubles hits 1000. 17th June 174 IRA bombs parliament. 17th July 174 IRA bombs tower of London. 5th October 174 bomb kills four in Guildford. nd October IRA bomb west end. 8th October 174 attempted bombing of minister and his wife. 1st November 174 Birmingham pub blast, 1 killed. 5th September 175 London Hilton hotel bombed. nd September 175 Northern Ireland bombed. 7th November 175 T.V presenter shot dead. 5th January 176 bus ambush, 10 die. th January 176 West end bombed. 7th August 17 Lord Mountbatten murdered. nd March 17 British ambassador to Holland assonated. 0th July 18 bomb causes carnage in London. 7th October 18 RUC officers killed by bomb. 17th December 18 Harrods bomb blast kills . 1th October 184 Tory cabinet meeting bomb blast. 8th November 187 bomb kills 11 at Enniskillen. 16th March 188 shot dead at Milltown cemetery. 0th March 18 Senior RUC men die in gun attack. nd September 18 10die in Kent barracks bomb. 0th July 10 IRA bombs stock exchange. rd December 1 bomb explodes in Manchester. 0th March Warrington bomb attack. 4th April 1 bomb devastates London. 10th February 16 Dockland bomb. 15th June 16 huge explosion in central Manchester. 15th August 18 Omagh car bomb 7 killed. 6th February 000 bomb attack on hotel. rd August 001 car bomb explodes in London.

There was a bombing campaign in 1 but then there were no more bombs until after Bloody Sunday, that really is something that Bloody Sunday has changed we now have murderous revenge on not only those who committed the Bloody Sunday massacre but also innocents, civilians caught up in the IRA web of murders.

The only nauseating thing was that Bloody Sunday has contributed to these tensions being brought into the 1st Century, these tensions now affect a range of events including Football, and the Northern Ireland captain was forced to quit the team because of Protestant threats. These tensions will carry on until someone does something about it instead of trying to tackle violently why not peacefully or politically.

One of the things that annoy me is that people who paint murals on their houses have the right intensions but I think these only help to sure tensions carry on into the 1st century. I also think that to get over these troubles then all sides must accept responsibility for what has happened and vow to ‘forgive and forget’. On the following two pages there are pictures of these murals.

There were troubles in Ireland long before Bloody Sunday it can be traced back to the 1th Century so Bloody Sunday never changed anything. Bloody Sunday did one thing though it made this phoney war a battle that would continue into the 1st century and if things carry on as they are then for a long time to come.

I think that Bloody Sunday was a complete tragedy; I have no doubt that protesters were carrying guns but they were in the smallest minority. I think that the army fired too much too quickly and were just as much to blames as the protesters. Everybody needs to forgive the actions of the soldiers and vice versa also paramilitary groups such as the IRA need to be disbanded. The government and Irish people need to start building new bridges to stop the growing number of deaths. Their needs to be forgiveness and forgetness. With any luck it will soon, before another life is stolen.

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