Something to remember
Published: Monday, June 14, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
Just got done with my first day of work at RE&D in Dublin, Ireland. I walked outside and it was such a nice day that I decided to sit down and catch up on my journal.
I'm sitting just up O'Connell Street from where I work in the Garden of Remembrance, a memorial to those who lost their lives in the fight for Irish independence. Ireland's history over the last two centuries has been one of tragedy, starting with the great suffering of the potato famines, then the violent war for home rule, and even more recently the violence in Northern Ireland between unionists and nationalists. On Tuesday the report of the British inquiry into Bloody Sunday, the 1972 day on which 14 protestors were killed by British soldiers, will be released. The inquiry was proposed by Tony Blair in 1998 and was intended to take two years.
Twelve years later, some commentators predict the report will not satisfy anyone. "The judge's report may end up as heavily laced with ambiguity – and could inspire an industry of explanation, analysis and textual criticism, in turn provoking further controversy and denying the victims' families the certainty they seek," said Maurice Hayes in the Irish Independent. Because the perpetrators were soldiers, many saw Bloody Sunday as an act of war, and at least everyone can agree that gunning down unarmed protestors is unacceptable in a democratic society, as Hayes pointed out. Families of victims will press for the soldiers to be charged on a joint enterprise basis after the report is released, as reported by John Bingham and Jon Swaine in the Independent. But others, mainly British citizens and politicians, argue that would be unjust when many IRA members were given pardons for their crimes during that period.
Well, that's not at all what I meant to write about today, but it is important. Watch the news Tuesday for analyses of the report (I wouldn't suggest having a go at it yourself, it's close to 5,000 pages long and costs somewhere in the range of 600 euros.). The report may not really answer the questions, and I'm of the opinion that all it will produce is a lot of talk, analyzing and commenting on what to do with it now. But watching may help you appreciate a society in which you can talk – freely.