Blood Sunday

28 Nov

Something that I was particularly struck by during our trip to Northern Ireland was learning more about Bloody Sunday. The Troubles in Northern Ireland has always been something that I’ve definitely heard about before, yet I was shocked by the fact that I had not heard much about Bloody Sunday. I also did not understand the entire conflict or realize the extent of the violence and tragedy. Therefore, I found the weekend extremely eye opening, and I learned a lot more than I though I would about the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Bloody Sunday occurred on January 30, 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland and is also sometimes referred to as the Bogside Massacre. On this, the British Army shot 26 unarmed civil-rights protesters. Some of those killed in this shooting were bystanders as well.

The Museum of Free Derry was especially interesting. The pictures, videos, audio recordings, and even coats with obvious bullet holes really made the event that we had heard about come to life. It is unfathomable to me that this horrific event occurred not too long ago.

After visiting the museum, I wanted to learn more. After reading more and more about Bloody Sunday and the conflict in Derry, I visited the website for the Museum of Free Derry. There, I found accounts by survivors of the shooting who told stories of their experience that day (http://www.museumoffreederry.org/history-bloody-events.html). I found this extremely interesting.

While this weekend trip answered a lot of my questions regarding the conflict in Northern Ireland, it also instigated more questions. How could someone live in Northern Ireland and not associate with being Irish? How can a massacre and all of the conflict and tension be justified? Bloody Sunday was a massacre caused by the British Army, yet there are people there who would still rather be considered British and refuse to associate with being Irish? If there is such tension about being either part of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, why don’t they run under a different name? Why don’t those who feel so strongly either way move to the Republic of Ireland or to other parts of the United Kingdom?

It will be interesting throughout the years to see how Northern Ireland deals with the continued tension and moves forward. How long does it take for scars to heal? How long with it take for Northern Ireland to become entirely united? Will there ever be time where one said doesn’t have UK flags and the other side doesn’t have Irish flags?

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