One of the most chilling and hair-raising experiences of my life was listening to the audio recordings of the 1972 ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre in Derry, Northern Ireland. The screams and calls for help of those involved is something I will never forget.
For those unfamiliar with the event, more than a dozen Irish Catholics were gunned down by British paratroopers whilst involved in a Civil Rights march. All they wanted was the right to be able to vote on the same basis as their Protestant neighbours, something they had been actively denied since 1921.
The British Army claimed that operatives belonging to the paramilitary organisation the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had fired on the soldiers, using the marchers as cover. This has since been proven false, after attempts at a cover up. What the British Army engaged in that day was State-sanctioned murder.
44 years have passed since that horrific day, and I pray the North of Ireland will never experience the likes of which again. Northern Ireland now operates as a democratic pluralist polity, governed by a provincial power-sharing Administration. Although, tensions remain, this arrangement ensures Catholics can never be treated with such blatant prejudice ever again. Perhaps by the marchers’ deaths, others have had the chance to live. I hope and pray this is the case.