Bloody Sunday - Truth and Lies


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Bloody Sunday Commemoration 2008

Thirty-six years ago we were caught up in the confusion of the bloodiest year of the violent political conflict we are only now emerging out of.  In the immediate aftermath of Bloody Sunday where an official public inquiry found the innocent guilty and pronounced the guilty innocent many of us, knowing the truth, went to war with the British State with a clear conscience.  Others believing the official lie that tried to cover up the events took the State’s side. Some saw through the lies, holding the state guilty but chose a different path from armed struggle, while the rest of us were caught in the smoke and mirrors of the violent forces unleashed.

To say that truth is the first casualty of war ignores the lies the powerful tell to start them. And for many while internment may have been the final injustice that declared the government’s war, Widgery was its official stamp of approval.

Now, as we await the imminent verdict of the second British Inquiry and speculate whether it can deliver the truth, the prevailing climate doesn’t bode well.  While Bloody Sunday should have always been tried in front of an international court with Britain in the dock, recent legislative changes to the terms of reference of British public inquiries even further diminish their ability to deliver truths the government finds unpalatable.  We know that other unresolved miscarriages of justice (Pat Finucane, Billy Wright, Omagh…) are unlikely to face the scrutiny, limited though it was that the 1921 Inquiries Act empowered Lord Saville to bring to bear on Bloody Sunday.  

As we emerge out of our war, into an Orwellian world of permanent war, committed to finding peaceful ways to unravel and resolve our differences, we will explore the importance of truth for freedom.   What are the implications for the future when the ‘democratic’ world seems to have perfected the art of controlling its institutions to produce its official lies?

This year’s programme hosts a series of events that scrutinise the context of ‘democracy’ here and explore how we can collectively deal with our past. 

The Memorial Lecture will be delivered by former Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, her first public lecture since leaving office. 

Ballymurphy August 1971 poignantly depicts the events of the shooting dead of 11 innocents branded gunmen in the three days after the introduction of internment, a state template for what would happen here five months later. 

A Truth Commission for Ireland? hosted by the PFC will give families of victims of state violence an opportunity to interrogate and explore a proposal calling for an independent truth commission.  

Judging Saville hosted by the Bloody Sunday Trust will present the Trust’s view of what answers are required if the Saville Report is to be regarded as fair and final.

In addition there are exhibitions, films, drama and panel discussions. ‘Their epitaph is the ongoing stuggle for democracy’, so read the programme, come to events, join in the debate!

Use the links at the top of the page to view the programme for a paticular day.

Free Derry Tours

will be running political tours of the Bogside at 10.00am and 2.00pm throughout the week.

Proceeds from Saturday’s tours will be donated to the Bloody Sunday Weekend Committee.

For tour details contact 07793285972.

The Poster

This year’s poster depicts a face comprised of 4 fragments: Rosemary Nelson, killed in 1999 by loyalists, Gerald Donaghey, killed on Bloody Sunday (1972), Joan Connolly, killed by the British Army, Ballymurphy, Belfast (1971), & Asil Asleh, killed by Israeli Police in 2000 October's Cry

Bloody Sunday Commemoration Programme 2008 - hosted by