Today 30th January 2018 is the 46th Anniversary of the murder of Irish Civil Rights protesters by the British Army, determined in the mindset and brutal tradition of Colonial armies to teach the Irish protestors against British Rule in Ireland a lesson they wouldn’t forget. Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in the City of Derry, Ireland, when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration. Fourteen others were wounded, one later died. The Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972 is remembered as one of the darkest and bloodiest events of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Saville Report was heavily critical of the Army and found that soldiers fired the first shot.
46 years ago today 14 innocent people were killed on the streets of #Derry. Fathers, sons, brothers, husbands. 7 of them teenagers. All of them loved. Thinking of the families who navigated life alongside unimaginable loss long after the soldier's guns fell silent #BloodySunday pic.twitter.com/quFKwlF7QZ
— Leona O'Neill (@LeonaONeill1) January 30, 2018
The Bloody Sunday massacre took place in 1972 as the conflict between Unionists Loyalist and Nationalist Republican had started to intensify in Northern Ireland. The British government shot 26 unarmed civilians in the Bogside area of Derry, County Londonderry, as they protested against internment – whereby suspected IRA terrorists were locked up without trial. Thirteen victims were killed outright by the shooting while another died of his injuries four months later.
Many of those fired at by the soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, of the British army were fleeing while others were helping the wounded. Two protesters were mowed down by army vehicles. The march had been organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the Northern Resistance Movement. Bloody Sunday, sometimes referred to as the Bogside Massacre, remains one of the most notorious events of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The City of Derry where the slaughter took place had perceived by many Irish nationalists and Catholics as the epitome of “fifty years of unionist misrule”. Despite making-up the majority of the population of Derry, Catholics and nationalists had never been able to win representation there because of gerrymandering – whereby boundaries were manipulated to ensure unionists were always elected.
John "Jackie" Duddy.
First fatality of the Bloody Sunday massacre of January 30th 1972.
Shot as he ran away from soldiers, the bullet hit him in the shoulder and entered his chest.
17 years old.
Unarmed. #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/fXSl1cC8yZ
— Brendan Harkin (@brendanjharkin) January 30, 2018
The widely-discredited Widgery Tribunal took place soon after Bloody Sunday. Baron John Widgery heard testimony from paratroopers who claimed they were shot at first. The marchers maintained nobody was armed. Widgery came out on the side of the British Army and this was accepted by the UK Government and Northern Ireland’s unionists. Nationalists and the people of Bogside were disgusted by the findings. Lord Widgery was a former British Army Brigadier and active Freemason who was later removed from his role as Lord Chief Justice when it became obvious he was presiding over hearings while suffering from dementia.
In January 1998 the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a new inquiry would be held into the killings. It was named the Savile Inquiry after its chairman Lord Savile and the results were not published until June 2010. After the findings came in, the British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged the British Army had fired the first shot and killed unarmed civilians. He apologised on behalf of the British Government.
In presenting the results of the Saville Enquiry in the House of Commons on 15 June 2010 Prime Minister David Cameron said:
No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire
None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers
Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying
None of the casualties was posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting
Many of the soldiers lied about their actions
The events of Bloody Sunday were not premeditated
Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, Sinn Fein, was present at the time of the violence and “probably armed with a sub-machine gun” but did not engage in “any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire”
History will record how the dual moral travesties of Bloody Sunday and Internment without Trial (and without intelligent intelligence) of 1,200 people created and empowered the Provisional IRA. The abandonment of moral authority by the British State to support the failed political entity of Northern Ireland created a poisonous moral equivalence to allow the IRA to justify its hijacking of the Civil Rights movement with its own brand of crypto fascism. The moral abandonment was compounded by the no warning terrorist bombing of Libya and illegal attempted assassination of Colonel Gaddafi by a group called the USAF operating from a British base which resulted in the IRA having an unlimited supply of Semtex explosive.
Through the usual oppressive instincts of a Colonial Army and its knuckle headed Officer Corps “doing its job” the peaceful Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland was undermined and the politically incontinent die-hards on both sides were given both the moral sense of purpose and materiel to wreak havoc on the Island of Ireland stealing peace, opportunity and hope for a whole generation.
Northern Ireland experienced decades of conflict between the late 1960s and 1990s that claimed more than thirty-five hundred lives, and the era, known as the Troubles, largely pitted the historically dominant Unionists against the National minority. Through the courage and good offices of Bill Clinton, John Major and especially Tony Blair a peace deal struck in 1998 created a power-sharing government that included political forces that had been aligned with armed groups on each side of the conflict. Most of the Belfast Agreement—usually referred to as the Good Friday Agreement—has been implemented, and a devolved national assembly in Belfast is now in place. Some divisive issues related to sectarian and national identity were left unresolved by the accord, however, and contribute to occasional outbursts of disruption and violence.
The Good Friday Agreement entered into by a treaty between the Irish and British Government, guaranteed by the United States and underwritten by the membership of the European Union which has resulted in a frictionless border and trade on the Island of Ireland has now been put at risk by the post-Colonial delusions which have led Britain to the self harm and isolationism of Brexit.
No one has ever been punished for the Bloody Sunday murders, indeed the officer commanding the Paratroopers was promoted after the event.
As you sow so shall you reap?
Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.