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The truth has been brought home at last

January 30, 2011

39th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday: the victims’ families and those wounded on Bloody Sunday have said that this Sunday, 30th January 2011, will see the final Bloody Sunday commemoration march take place in Derry. Thousands of people took the route of the original 1972 civil rights march for one last time today.

The families released the following press statement:

“The 39th anniversary of Bloody Sunday takes place in an unprecedented atmosphere of celebration marking the successful culmination of a long and arduous campaign for truth and justice. Against all the odds, ordinary people have wrested an outstanding moral and legal victory over a state that murdered peaceful protestors and then told the world lies about them.

No more will the lies of the British establishment, or the whitewash of Widgery, be repeated to excuse the actions of the British Army on the streets of Derry on the 30th January 1972. What we have always known has been acknowledged and recognised: Bloody Sunday was unjustified and unjustifiable.

From the lips of the British Prime Minister, the truth has been acknowledged. All those murdered and wounded on Bloody Sunday were innocent. We have always known that. Now the world does as well. All the victims of Bloody Sunday have been exonerated. Their relatives, friends and supporters across the world have been vindicated.

For the first time in British legal history an official inquiry, Widgery, has been consigned to the legal dustbin. The Saville Report however is far from perfect. It carries a number of serious flaws and has been accurately described as heavy on innocence and light on guilt. Its treatment of Gerald Donaghey is simply incomprehensible.

The Report stops short of placing blame for the atrocity at the middle and higher echelons of the British army and the then British Government. But its core message is inescapable and unavoidable: innocence has been proven and accepted. The truth has been acknowledged.

The families and their supporters stood vindicated on the steps of the Guildhall on June 15th 2010. Finally, the lies and whitewash were exposed and the truth shone free. In the words of one campaigner, “We have moved a mountain!”

The complete turnaround of the Bloody Sunday story, from darkness into light, will serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for many other families at home and throughout the world who are currently struggling for truth and justice.

The parallels between Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy Massacre are manifest. The people of Gaza, among the most beleaguered and demonised in the world, were the first to send congratulations to the people of Derry on 15th June. Just as the jubilant release of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six in 1989 and 1991 gave inspiration to the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, oppressed people everywhere will take heart from the ground-breaking culmination of that campaign less than seven months ago.

Derry’s stubborn refusal to accept the state’s lies gave rise to the most remarkable justice campaign in modern Irish history, a campaign that reached a climax on the 15th June 2010, amid joyous and emotional scenes in Derry’s Guildhall Square.

Derided and sneered at for years; told by defeatists to give up any hope of reaching success; the dark and difficult days of campaigning were at last vindicated, when the Bloody Sunday families and wounded announced to a waiting world:

The great lie has been laid bare. The Truth has been brought home at last.”

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First published by
Troops Out Movement
January 28, 2011