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The Bloody Sunday was undoubtedly a very traumatic event for the Irish
people. Fourteen Irish men did not deserve to die and this was the
most horrific attack that took place during the troubles. Feelings of
bitterness between nationalists and unionists still last today because
of it. The Irish people demanded an explanation on why
Bloody Sunday happened and were given the Widgery Inquiry not long
after the event. The result of this inquiry did not satisfiy or
appease the Irish people as it cleared the army of all charges and
blamed the victims of Bloody Sunday for starting the troubles.
Improvements in science and technology as well as the existence of new
evidence about what happened on the day have led to a new inquiry
being set up by Lord Saville. The result of this inquiry has not yet
been published but perhaps it may arrive at an interpretation, which
may be palatable to all.
There have been many interpretations about what had happened on that
day of Sunday. Sources A and B are excerpts from newspapers. They were
both written on the same day, yet they have entirely differing
viewpoints. Source A is taken from The Daily Mail, a conservative
newspaper, so therefore it is more likely to favour the opinions of
the British Army. When reading it you get the impression that the
paratroopers did act responsibly and that they had the situation under
control although this is not the opinion of most Irish people. It
tries to suggest that it is the victims of Bloody Sunday who caused
the event as it mentions an account from one of the officers who was
there that day. He claims that they didn’t fire at the marchers until
they started throwing nail bombs and acid bombs at the army.
This article also brands the new inquiry set up by Lord Saville as “an
absolute disaster”. It tries to suggest to the reader that it is
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newspaper is printed for those who favour the British Army. It tries
to make the reader feel sympathy for the paratroopers and to make them
believe it was the victims of Bloody Sunday who created a riot on the
streets of Derry, not the army and that a suitable solution for civil
unrest was an armed response.
Source B is another article taken from a newspaper. This time it is
The Guardian, a pro-labour newspaper, so it may be more likely to
favour the views of the Irish people. It was written by John Mullin,
an Ireland correspondent. In my opinion this may suggest that his
interpretation would be more accurate, as he has spent time in Ireland
and may have more knowledge of what happened on January 30th 1972.
This article sympathises greatly with the victims of Bloody Sunday.
The writer uses language to create an impression that the dead were
vulnerable victims of British paratroopers and places largely the
blame on the British Army. When he mentions “dum-dum” bullets he makes
us aware that the army were using illegal weapons during the day. He
also mentions how “worthless” the evidence was during the Widgery
Inquiry. He claims that there is no real evidence to suggest that the
victims were holding or even near any weapons that day.
Although sources A and B were written on the same day, they offer
quite different interpretations, but in my opinion both are quite
biased. Source A defends the paratroopers and blames the victims while
source B defends the victims and blames the paratroopers. Both views
are as divergent as they were in 1972. These sources don’t really help
me to understand what happened on the day as they display opposing
viewpoints. On studying them you don’t know which one to believe. I
don’t think that anyone can give an honest or unbiased interpretation
about what happened on the day of Bloody Sunday. Perhaps the Saville
inquiry will help clarify the matter.
Source C is an interview with a man called Daniel Porter, who recounts
a conversation that soldiers were having in a pub about clearing the
bog in Derry. When reading this you get the impression that the
soldiers weren’t planning on killing people that day and the only
reason they were going to Northern Ireland was to clear the bog.
Although the decision to clear the bog really happened after Bloody
Sunday took place.
This man seems to be just another ordinary person, so why should we
take him more serious than the civilians and paratroopers who were
there on the day of Bloody Sunday. Even though he is an ordinary
person I don’t think its fair to dismiss his opinion.
This source may be quite biased as it gives the reader an opinion that
the soldiers were not planning on causing trouble that day. This man
was drinking in a military town so therefore he maybe familiar with
the soldiers. He isn’t going to portray them as the people who fired
shots on Bloody Sunday, and this interview only selects certain
information, which makes it very misleading for the reader. All in
all, the source contributes little to our knowledge of Bloody Sunday
leaving us with yet another interpretation.