The Truth Set Free
Thirty-eight years. Thats how long the families of victims of the Bloody Sunday massacre had to wait to hear to the British government say that their loved ones were innocent and for the leader of that government to apologise for their murders.
The families of course always knew that the victims were innocent and that they were gunned down in cold blood by the British army as they took part in a Civil Rights march in Derry, January 1972. Countless others around the world also knew of their innocence and supported their calls for justice and their demand on the British government to set the truth free.
Today, Tuesday 15th June, 2010, those families and thousands of their supporters gathered at the Guildhall in Derry to finally hear the British establishment finally admit the truth as the findings of the Saville Report were published.
When the families entered the Guildhall to be allowed to see the report, 10,000+ people gathered outside to hear the expected public admission from the British prime minister beamed live to the assembled masse. But the families made sure they would set the truth free before David Cameron did, and shortly before the live broadcast, family members inside the hall pushed their arms through the small open windows high up on the building and gave the thumbs up to let the crowd know their loved ones had been exonerated, at which point the crowd below erupted in shouts and cheers of support, moving many to tears.
Unjustified and unjustifiable were the words used in the report to describe the actions of the soldiers who murdered the 14 innocent civilians and injured many others. This description was hardly a surprise to their families and everyone else who has suffered not only in Ireland but around the world – and continue to - at the hands of the British armed forces.
British politicians and members of the British army have now, after the publication of the report, rushed to the defence of the army, as good as saying it was a one off and have done all they can to try to perpetuate the nonsense that on the whole, the British army have an almost exemplary record here in Ireland and elsewhere around the world. Some of their comments today have all but said that Bloody Sunday was no more than a blip on the screen, almost dismissing the deaths on that day.
But the countless victims of their brutality will tell you otherwise. It went on before Bloody Sunday and long after it. What made Bloody Sunday different was the brazen nature of the crime, the enormity of it, it being carried out in broad day light and the arrogance of the British afterwards justifying the slaughter of innocent defenceless human beings by telling lies about them. And the sadistic behaviour they nurtured in Ireland they shipped world wide, as we have seen more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bottom line is that one day would have been a day too long for the families and victims to wait to hear the British admit the truth of their wrong doings, never mind thirty-eight years. Moreover, its a shocking indictment on their whole establishment that this admission had to be forced out of them under duress from the victims families. One commentator said this evening that this achievement of getting the truth for the families was only the first step on the road to justice. It should also be noted that what was achieved today only came about through the collective desire and hard work of so many to set the truth free and shows what can be done when everyone pulls together for a common purpose.
Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, whether it be on the other side of the world, twenty minutes up the road in Derry or on your own doorstep, and everyone should pull together to fight it. The families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and their supporters should be commended for their long and arduous fight to set the truth free and we wish them well and stand with them in any further action they decide to take.