Hands Up Don’t Shoot

Solidarity Gathering:  Bloody Sunday – Ferguson

Hands up Don't shoot

Hands up Don’t shoot

Members of the Bloody Sunday families will take part in a vigil at Free Derry Wall tomorrow (Saturday 29th November 2014) afternoon in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9th last.
The announcement on Tuesday that the police officer who fired the fatal shots is not to face charges sparked angry demonstrations across the US.
The vigil, at 2.30, has been called by the Bloody Sunday March Committee, while includes some of the families of the victims of the Derry massacre.
Said one of the organisers, Kate Nash, yesterday: “The parallels between Ferguson and Derry are obvious – ordinary unarmed people, mainly young men, shot down by the forces of the State as they went about their peaceful business, and their families then abandoned by the law. We want to send our good wishes and solidarity to Michael’s family and the people of Ferguson and let them know that many around the world are thinking of them and speaking up for them.”
“The Bloody Sunday families have been campaigning for 42 years to have the killers of our loved ones brought to justice, and our campaign is unfortunately far from over. We hope and pray that the Brown family do not have so long a struggle before them – or any of the families the others, mostly African Americans, killed by racist police in the US in recent years.”
“We should remember, too, that the slogan on Free Derry Wall was first written up in solidarity with young people fighting against oppression in the US. The connection is there, and we want to put it to practical use at this time.”
“We ask as many Derry people as possible to attend at 2.30. We want to be able to send the Brown family pictures of solidarity from our town to theirs.”
For Further Information contact 07751604523
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Truth about the past is withheld

Journalist and Civil Rights Campaigner Eamonn McCann

Journalist and Civil Rights Campaigner Eamonn McCann

by Eamonn McCann

On Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 Eamon McCann wrote an opinion column in the Irish Times.

He started:

“At the Tory party conference in Birmingham last Sunday, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers said she was hopeful talks aimed at resolving problems to do with public spending, flags, parades and the past would begin within weeks and conclude before the end of the year.

One of the reasons this won’t happen is that the government of which she is part has no intention of allowing the truth to be told about its forces’ role in the Troubles.

The chances of loyalist or republican paramilitary groups making a clean breast of it are slim at best. The chances of the British government owning up are zero.”

You can still read the whole article  on the Irish Times website.

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Rundown of inquiry Denounced

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Rundown of Inquiry Denounced by Families

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The run-down of the police inquiry into the Bloody Sunday murders is just the latest episode in the British State’s avoidance of the truth about its own role in the Troubles.

The new investigation was supposed to be stand-alone. But now it’s to take by far the biggest hit in the cut-backs in policing. That’s a political decision, not a cost-cutting measure. It shows what a low priority is being placed on bringing those responsible for Bloody Sunday to justice.

The report of the Bloody Sunday Tribunal was political. Lord Saville gave all British politicians and the army top brass a clean bill of health. All the blame was put on one middle-rank officer and nine rank and file paras. That finding did not follow from the evidence. But it followed the usual pattern of official inquiries.IMG_4301

 

accepted no blame

That was the reason David Cameron was able to give his apology at Westminster. He apologised for the murders, but put it all down to rogue soldiers. He accepted no blame on behalf of the government, the British Army or the Parachute Regiment.

In light of this new decision, making the police inquiry meaningless, the double-talk and hypocrisy of Cameron’s apology is even more glaring.

If the powers-that-be were truly sorry for Bloody Sunday, there would be no question of scaling the investigation back. What hope is there now for truth and justice for the families of those shot down by the paras in Ballymurphy six months before Bloody Sunday or the families of the two men murdered by paras on the Shankill eight months afterwards?

IMG_4297 latest chapter in a cover-up

What we have here is the latest chapter in a cover-up which was under way before the smoke had cleared from Rossville Street. It’s the same cover-up strategy seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, anywhere that soldiers from major powers are exposed for killing innocent civilians.

The PSNI inquiry had been making painfully slow progress. Now it has effectively been brought to a standstill. This decision was ostensibly made by the PSNI. But there is no doubt whose interests are ultimately served. To whom is Chief Constable George Hamilton accountable in relation to this decision.

 think again

If the Westminster Government or police chiefs in the North think that we don’t have the energy or determination to keep on campaigning until we get full truth and justice, they have another think coming.  Those who believe that there’s nothing left to march for in relation to Bloody Sunday should also think again.IMG_4295

not a narrow issue

This is not a narrow issue relevant only to one community in the North. It is relevant to everyone everywhere who believes that when the State kills its citizens it must be made accountable. The Bloody Sunday issue remains a key test of democracy.

 

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End of March for Justice 2014 addressed by Stafford Scott

Stafford Scott addressed  the rally at the end of the of  the 2014 Bloody Sunday March.  He was introduced by Bernadette McAlliskey.  Here is a video of what they said:

Stafford Scott is a community activist from Tottenham, London.   In his talk he makes many links between his experiences in London and our experiences in Derry.   He talks of  how  the state learned from what it did in Derry, and across the six counties, and how the behaviour of the state’s representatives in Derry in the 1970s connects to the Metropolitan Police’s shoot-to-kill policy, that claimed the life of Mark Duggan in Tottenham in 2012.

He sees many parallels between the lives of  people  in Tottenham  and in Derry and especially  between the campaign for justice in Tottenham and the campaigns for justice here.

He concludes the address with the slogan of Mark’s campaign:

“No Justice, No Peace, No Justice No Peace, No Justice, No Peace!  Derry I salute you  – One love, peace!”

That slogan echoes the words of Martin Luther King:

“Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice”.

We have a way to go yet and getting there concerns us all, and as Stafford says:

“It is critical that we support each other.

It is critical that we hold each other’s hands in this march for justice.”

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1st Feb 2014: McCann on Goya’s “3rd May 1808 In Madrid”

On Saturday 1st February 2014 Eamonn McCann returned to the recently launched Robert Ballagh Mural in order to talk about the painting by Goya which inspired Ballagh.  Here is a video of that event:

This talk was part of the Bloody Sunday March Events for 2014.  Before the panel discussions opened at Pilot’s Row on Saturday, Eamonn McCann took a group of people across the street to the new Robert Ballagh mural in Glenfada Park. There he gave a short talk on the significance of Francisco Goya’s anti-war painting “The Third of May 1808 in Madrid” (El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid).

The talk took place in front of the new rendition of Robert Ballagh’s ‘pop art’ version of the painting entitled, “The Third of May – After Goya, 1970″. The new rendition by local artists was tweaked to incorporate the Derry skyline.

The location has poignant resonance with another date. It is at the corner of Glenfada Park  –  just feet away Jim Wray, William McKinney, Gerard McKinney and Gerard Donaghy were shot and fatally wounded on Sunday 30th January 1972.

McCann’s talk ranges through the history of Spain at  the time of Goya’s original painting, through the Spanish Civil War,  to modern issues about art in Derry.  Along the way he visits the many art works, including Picasso’s Guernica, inspired by Goya’s work.

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Launch of the Exhibition on the Disappeared

On Monday 27 Jan 2014 at 7:30 we launched  the Exhibition on the Disappeared.  There was a palpable air of deep respect and solidarity in the room as members of Bloody Sunday families met members of the families of the Disappeared for the first time.  Below is a video of that event. Unfortunately the image deteriorates somewhat towards the end as the camera lens was cold and the room warm.  Hopefully this does not detract too much from the importance of what is being said:

Given the theme of this year’s March it was very fitting that this exhibition was displayed as part of our schedule of events.   Of the many ongoing injustices as a result of the conflict here, that of the seven families who have yet to recover the bodies of their loved ones is one that cries out to be brought to its natural conclusion.

We were honoured to host the exhibition and to be able to facilitate and support the families in a small way in their quest for justice.

The exhibition is now going to tour other areas of the country.

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BloodySunday March 2014 in Photographs

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The 2014 Bloody Sunday March

 2014 March for Justice in Photographs

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Margaretta D’arcy

As we prepare for the 2014 Bloody Sunday March artist and anti-war activist Margaretta D’Arcy was jailed for her protests  over the use by the United States military of Shannon Airport as a stopover point for US troops (not to mention a transit port for rendition: the extra-judicial kidnapping, detention and torture of people seized by US forces,  sometimes on the flimsiest of evidence).  

Margaretta D'Arcy jailed after protesting the use of Shannon Airport by US Military.

Margaretta D’Arcy jailed after protesting the use of Shannon Airport by US Military.

Down the years D’Arcy,   has campaigned for justice for the Bloody Sunday families and survivors.  Now, despite being almost eighty years of age and suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s, she is sitting in Limerick Prison.  

That fact, in this world were our liberal elite has lost its moral compass and sanctions war for profit reminds me of the words of another artist, Joni Mitchell.  In her song, ‘The Same Situation’, she expresses beautifully the inverted morality of our time.

“Still I sent up my prayer
Wondering where it had to go
With heaven full of astronauts
And the Lord on death row
While the millions of his lost and lonely ones
CalI out and clamour to be found
Caught in their struggle for higher positions
And their search for love that sticks around”

Thanks Margaretta for your non compliance.

To follow news of artist and anti-war activist Margaretta D’arcy still in Limerick prison, keep an eye on the Shannon Watch website.

 

 

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Launch of Robert Balagh Mural

At 1:30 pm on Wednesday 22nd January 2014 Eamonn McCann introduced Robert Ballagh to unveil and launch a new mural in Glenfada Park. Painted by local artist-activists it is based on Ballagh’s painting ‘The Third of May After Goya, 1970′ the mural image has been tweaked to adapt it to its local context. In this rendition it includes a cityscape of Derry and on the arm of one of the soldiers there are now Para insignia.

The setting is poignant, the corner of Glenfada Park just feet from where Jim Wray, William McKinney, Gerard McKinney and Gerard Donaghy were shot and fatally wounded on Bloody Sunday.


A video record of the launch of a new mural for the Bloody Sunday 2014 programme of events.
 more videos

Image of Robert Ballagh's Third of May after Goya, 1970

Robert Ballagh’s Third of May after Goya, 1970

In this painting,  that he made in  1970 Ballagh was making direct reference to one of the anti-war paintings of Francisco Goya called:  “The Third of May 1808 in Madrid” (El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid).

In 1970 Ballagh was responding to events the previous summer after the  redeployment of British Troops on to the streets of Derry and Belfast in August 1969.

 

Image of Goya's – The Third of May 1808

Goya’s – The Third of May 1808

Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies during the occupation of 1808 in the Peninsular War.

His paintings have inspired anti-war works by many artists, the most famous of which is Picasso’s “Geurnica”.

 

Robert Ballagh gave his permission for his 1970 work to be adapted for this years events surrounding the on-going campaign for justice and will launch the new version adapted by local artists. The Bloody Sunday March Committee was delighted that he agreed to launch the mural based on his painting.

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