British state still wants to prevent Bloody Sunday soldiers from taking a stand
Almost all of the atrocities that mark our past can be traced to people claiming to represent one community inflicting pain on the other community. But Bloody Sunday wasn’t like that, wasn’t planned or perpetrated by anyone from any side in Northern Ireland.
The men who brought a storm of death to the Bogside were in uniform to represent the British state.
Nowhere in the thousands of political and military documents released as part of Lord Saville’s 12-year inquiry is there evidence that a politician or local political entity was consulted or briefed before paratroopers not enlisted in Derry to control the Civil Rights Parade unless they intended to do once they got to Rossville Street.
A number of Unionist figures responded to the killings at the time with reckless shrugs, even in some cases with unbridled glee. They should have been suffocated with shame back then. Their successors should now strive to muster half an ounce of contrition.
But being a para means never having to apologize, even for a mass murder. This is what they do, what they are trained and deployed for.
The other key difference between Bloody Sunday and other atrocities is that Bloody Sunday happened in broad daylight and was seen, in many cases up close, by walkers crouched behind walls or crammed into local homes. . They saw other demonstrators being shot dead in front of them.
No one in the Bogside was waiting for an investigation or a trial to tell them the truth. They were waiting to know if the truth would be told.