August 26th, 2005

me: ooh!

Day 11: Derry and Letterkenny

Bogside murals: The Petrol Bomber and Bernadette
We eat a grumpy, silent breakfast and walk to the Bloody Sunday Center which is in a dingy, rather run-down building. We watch the extremely disturbing forty minute video about the illegal but peaceful civil rights march that turned into tragedy when dozens of unarmed Bogside residents were fired upon by heavily armed British paratroopers on Sunday, 30 January, 1972.

One scene in particular captures my attention. A British Sergeant Major, speaking under condition of anonymity, describes the streets of the Bogside during Bloody Sunday as "chaos, total chaos." It's not what he says, but the fact that it's over thirty years since that day and he's still scared to make a public statement contradicting the official British pronouncement on the incident, known as the Widgery Report.* If it hadn't been for the gross, and rather obvious, miscarriage of justice that led to the issue of Widgery, he might not have to continue to hide his identity. The wounds from Bloody Sunday have never been allowed to heal – by either side. Hopefully the Saville Inquiry, which is re-examining Widgery's findings, will be able to reconcile them.

I write in the Comments section of the guestbook: "distressing. informative. necessary." I purchase Don Mullan's Eyewitness Bloody Sunday, which presents over a hundred of the seven hundred eyewitness statements given after the incident. The publication of the book helped to open the Saville Inquiry. (Only fifteen statements were used in the Widgery tribunal that exonerated the troops and their commanders.)

We stand outside and smoke. Becca remarks on feeling better. I do, too, and I think it's because some of what I've been sensing on the tense, oddly quiet streets has been externalized.

*The neutrality of this Wikipedia entry is in dispute. HAHAHA.
Collapse )