Bloody Sunday: Remembering Loss & Celebrating Resistance
Each week Ciarán Quinn sends a Letter from Ireland as part of the Friends of Sinn Féin Newsletter.
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This weekend marks the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972 when the British Army Parachute Regiment killed fourteen civil rights protestors and injured many more. All were unarmed and innocent.
It remains a tragedy for the people of Derry who lost loved ones. It also marked a turning point in modern Irish history. A point when it became clear that the call for equality, change, and justice could not be intimidated or beaten off the streets.
The protestors were attending a march against Internment.
Internment laws allowed the state to arrest any citizen at any time and detain them for any period of time. Some were held for years. It was a power that the Unionist government gave itself in 1921. It had been used exclusively against the Nationalist/Republican community in every decade since the foundation of the state to imprison and suppress dissent.
In August 1971 with the support of the British Government, the Unionist regime reintroduced Internment. But this time circumstances had changed. The Nationalists were a risen people and openly challenged the Unionist regime. Internment had failed to break the will of people so they sent in the parachute regiment.
This regiment had killed 10 people the previous August in Ballymurphy. They had killed with impunity then and would do so again on the streets of Derry.
After the killings in Derry, like in Ballymurphy, a cover-up operation was put into effect and would remain in place for 40 years. In the case of Ballymurphy, it took 50 years to uncover the truth.
The Unionist regime and the brutality the British Army unleashed on the streets of Derry failed to intimidate and oppress the people. It was an injustice that intensified resistance. After Bloody Sunday all had changed.
The truth about Bloody Sunday is out. The Unionist regime is gone.
Now is a time to remember those lost and celebrate the resistance and resilience of the people of Derry
Thankfully this generation does not have to face those challenges and we look to a future free of threat and violence. A time to build a new and united Ireland.
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America