Socialist Worker

Bloody parallels

Eamonn McCann, the Irish socialist and author, made this speech at a recent meeting

Issue No. 1870

I COME from Derry in Northern Ireland. I'm in London as a journalist covering the Saville tribunal into the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry in 1972. Men of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment came into our area and shot dead 14 of my neighbours, and wounded 13 others, as thousands of us watched. It took a campaign of 26 years of the relatives of the dead and the surviving wounded before we forced Mr Blair and the Labour government to set up a new inquiry.

Having set it up, the Blair government has attacked it over and over again. Today in Derry we watch the television, we listen to the news from Fallujah or Baghdad. We hear that eight, ten, 12 people have been shot down. And an officer comes on and says, 'We were under fire from terrorists-if there were innocent people who were killed in the crossfire we regret that.' Everyone in Derry knows what really happened. We know what side we're on.

We see the connection between the struggle against militarism and the struggle for justice and truth for the Bloody Sunday relatives, and the struggle to resist the British and American occupation of Iraq. It's the same oppression, the same struggle. I know the name of every soldier who fired on Bloody Sunday.

I know the name of every one who fired a shot that killed one of our neighbours. I know what they did before, I know what they did afterwards, and I know that they killed afterwards.

And one of the reasons they killed afterwards is that they had gotten away with killing people in the Bogside in Derry. If they got away with it there, why not do it elsewhere?

One of the reasons I have stayed with the Bloody Sunday issue all these years, and one of the reasons many people in Derry have stayed with it, is because we want that brought out, and we want the British people to understand what has been done in our name.


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Article information

Features
Sat 27 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1870
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