By Eddie Kerr
After 36 years of denials -- add the shirking of responsibility and mix that up with vivid nightmares and flashbacks in grainy black and white footage -- then Bloody Sunday haunts us continually.
And still we wait for closure. Still the Inquiry team trawl through 432 days of oral testimony from more than 920 witnesses and thousands of written statements detailed in eyewitness testimonies. And still no closure as we wait some more.
Then after decades of official lies, secrets, suppressed information, evidence destroyed and persistent perjury and lies; closure seems as far away as ever. #170 million in costs and the name of being the longest inquiry in legal history and still we continue to wait.
There was oral evidence offered by 245 soldiers, 34 paramilitaries, 505 civilians, 49 journalists, and seven priests. Evidence included 121 audiotapes, 109 videotapes and 13 volumes of photographs. 14 million words were spoken at the inquiry. A mountain mass of words, images and pain And to top it off after ten years in the waiting since the Saville Inquiry commenced, we continue to wait some more.
Yet still the truth of Bloody Sunday awaits to see the light of the day. They say the truth is out there. I can tell you that the truth is here and has been here.
I don’t need any British Judge to tell me what happened - I was there.
I saw what happened.
I smelt the fear and tasted the ache that still hurts today. And no amount of prevarication will alter the reality of that day. To add insult to mass injury, only one person has spent time in prison for the events on that never-to-be-forgotten day. That one person was an innocent Derryman, while top politicians, high ranking soldiers, a judiciary blinded by class nepotism and copious amounts of faceless civil servants have ridden the storm to ‘get away with it’ maybe for another while.
The people of Derry deserve the truth and maybe then we can put this behind us and start the healing process. Will it be worth waiting for? Don’t hold your breath.
‘A debt of justice and truth is still owed to the victims, to the bereaved and to the people of Derry. The British military, the British judiciary, the British Government and the Stormont regime - all must accept responsibility for Bloody Sunday and its consequences. Only then can the wounds of that day finally be healed’ it says on the monument to Bloody Sunday found on Rossville Street.
Only then can the wounds of that day finally be healed. This week we will whisper again ‘sheer unadulterated murder’ as we recreate the route of that scar on our collective consciousness.
They burned a scar on the soul of this city. A scar that spawned our collective fear, anger and hate and stole the youthfulness of this city. A scar that has not healed and has still not faded with time.
Only the truth can heal this scar and take away the pain of that eventful day. Only then will the scar begin to fade..... only then can we get on with life...