Bloody Sunday most potent artistic catalyst of Troubles

THE Bloody Sunday atrocity in Derry in 1972 has spawned more songs, films and poems than any other atrocity of the Troubles, a new book claims.

Thirteen people were killed and 14 injured when British army paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights protest in the Bogside area of the city.

A book, After Bloody Sunday, written by two British-based academics, examines how the fateful day has been portrayed in photography, film, theatre, poetry, documentaries, art exhibitions, murals and commemorative events.

Co-author Tom Herron said there have been dozens of attempts to tell the truth of what really happened on the day. “The event has provoked more responses than any other atrocity of the Troubles, and each response has tried to construct its own version of what happened on January 30, 1972. The day still reverberates strongly in contemporary Northern Ireland society.”

The lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University has family connections in Derry. University of Birmingham academic John Lynch co-wrote the book.

U2’s famous 1983 protest song, Sunday Bloody Sunday, was based on the atrocity and Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Christy Moore and Stiff Little Fingers were all also inspired by the events.

Bloody Sunday sparked the Paul Greengrass feature film Bloody Sunday, starring James Nesbitt, and the made-for-TV film, Sunday.

Poet Thomas Kinsella and playwrights Frank McGuinness and Brian Friel all explored the subject. Derry-born artist Willie Doherty has also amassed a large body of work on the atrocity.

Commemoration events are still held each year in Derry during which the families of the victims remember the dead and injured.

The play Bloody Sunday: Scenes from the Saville Inquiry — a dramatisation based on the Saville Inquiry — has run to audiences in Derry, London and Dublin.

The Saville Inquiry, which heard testimony from 900 witnesses over seven years, is the biggest investigation in British legal history. It is due to issue its final report soon.

* After Bloody Sunday: Representation, Ethics and Justice is published this week by Cork University Press.

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