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.
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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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Context 2017

One World One Struggle

Bloody Sunday was inflicted on the people of Derry.  But it has resonated around the world.  It is a local issue relevant to people everywhere.

Over the 45 years since British paratroopers erupted into the working-class Bogside area with rifles spitting death at civil rights marchers, representatives of victims of State violence from both sides of the Atlantic, from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, have travelled to Derry to take part in the annual commemoration and give substance to the idea of 'One World, One Struggle'. 

The British Government still sets its face Iike flint against telling the full truth about the Derry massacre.  A long Inquiry reported in 2010 that all the dead and wounded had been unlawfully shot. Despite this, the Report stopped well short of proposing prosecution of the killers - and pointed no finger of`blame at the senior military officers who had sent the Paras in, or at the politicians who had connived at the assault and then orchestrated a cover-up.

This is always the way when it comes to the violence of imperialism.

Only the persistence of family members and their supporters forced a police investigation. We await the outcome. One reason the British authorities fear the facts about Bloody Sunday is that this massacre cannot be ascribed to warring Irish factions. This was an authentically British atrocity.

Past commemorations have featured African Americans, Palestinians, former Guantanamo prisoners, victims of police violence in Britain etc., as well as members of other families bereaved by murder here in the North, in many cases murder inflicted by State agents and then systematically lied about to protect the same undercover agents.

Lectures, debates and cultural events are highlighted, economic struggles, women’s rights, gay rights, the rights of the environment, and many other examples of`oppression.  We have commemorated, too, the killing of other innocent people by non-State groups - Dublin Monaghan, Birmingham, Shankill, Greysteel, the Ormeau bookies, etc.

We believe that the programme we have produced this year puts Bloody Sunday in its proper context, an extreme example of the fact that, commonly, it’s innocent people who pose no threat to anyone who bear the brunt of conflict.

The trek towards truth and justice has been long and sometimes arduous. But we keep on keeping on because the cause is just and gives good example to the one world in which we all struggle. 

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