- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1309
- Category: Ireland
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On a regular day in Ireland on January 30th, 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland everything was turned upside down during a Northern Ireland Civil Rights movement. Through this it changed the way people looked at their rights as a human being. When something like this happens it makes people push to a new level for their rights and to just have their rights but most of all why they should have their rights.
For many years the people of Ireland have been reaching for their freedom from the British, there has been a lot of blood, tears, and pain over the years. But on January 30th, 1972 also known as Bloody Sunday the people of Northern Ireland gained a new understanding of the rights they had. On this day there was a Northern Ireland Civil Rights march to protest their basic rights such as their right to vote, religion, etc., because this is something that they have been restrained from for years. This was an unarmed protest that turned into something along the lines of a massacre when the British Army showed up.
There is still not a clear number of the amount of marchers that day it could be anywhere from three thousand (3,000) to thirty thousand (30,000) but that’s beside the point. The marchers planned on marching to the “Guildhall” but due to barricades, it forced them to the Free Derry corner, which they did, but some teenagers of the march broke off and went through the barricade followed by throwing rocks at the British forces. They were retaliated against with rubber bullets and tear gas; the rioting here was not anything serious as stated by observers. Then for no apparent reason Brigade gave the British Parachute Regiment permission to go into the Bogside and fire live rounds that killed 13 people and eventually a 14th while injuring 13 more.
When most people think about a unarmed protest they think about a group of people that feel that a force is not needed to get their point across. That’s probably exactly what the people in the Civil Rights march on Bloody Sunday thought as well. But that isn’t what they received, they received armed military of the British shooting at them in the streets as they tried to escape, most being shot in the back. I could understand the British army doing this if they were all marching with AK-47s in their hands but they were all unarmed. The worst part about it is that they were marching for their basic Civil Rights.
The Civil Rights marchers of Northern Ireland took a lot of the techniques the African Americans used during their civil rights movement in the US. The main one seemed to be a peaceful protest because they felt that was the most powerful way to get their point a crossed. The civil rights movement in the south of the US during the 1960s was a very brutal time. They were treated like dirt due to the color of their skin, a lot of their peaceful protests ended very violently due to the “White man’s” ignorance. When in Ireland they were treated like dirt because of their religion but this is still no reason for what happened on Bloody Sunday. I understand that the British army didn’t respect the protesters but that doesn’t mean you can shoot on an unarmed crowd. Something like this goes beyond a civil rights movement this has to do with someone’s conscience, being able to shoot at someone who is unarmed takes a pretty sick minded person. Even during the brutal civil rights movement in the US they didn’t have shootouts on unarmed crowds of protestors. This march was very important on the movement towards the Irish getting their civil rights and it ended with making them feel like they didn’t have any rights at all from the actions of the British army.
After Bloody Sunday a lot of people turned their backs on the British army and looked at them as their enemy opposed to their protector. This is where it makes no sense for the British army to have done what they did, because why would you want the people your supposed to protect hate you worse. Especially when they were marching for something as simple as their basic civil rights, you give them their rights it makes everything so much easier on both sides. But due to the actions on Bloody Sunday you have the people you essentially protect hating you worse then they truly already did. The reason this is such a big deal is because they claimed they were “rubber bullets” when there is no way that 14 people end up dead if you use “rubber bullets”. Also saying that the protestors fired first when no weapons were ever recovered. This is not how you protect someone, this is how you endanger someone. And from something like this I would definitely be turning my back on those who are supposed to be protecting me.
This really makes me wonder if back when the US civil rights movement happened and if they would have shot and killed people at the protests and marches if there would be equality like there is today. The sad thing is the answer is no because they would have never felt comfortable with the people supposed to be protecting them just like the people of Ireland did. And by now there would be a civil war amongst the “blacks” and “whites” in the US if actions like the British made happened during the US civil rights movement. That’s why I can’t fathom why they would want to do something so awful to the Irish like they did when they already hated the British enough as it is. I just feel the shooting of the innocent protestors did nothing for the British if anything it hurt the British. Because due to Bloody Sunday Ireland felt there was no longer a need for non-violent protests this made things very difficult for the British army.
To me I feel the British should have been a little bit more open and allowed them the simple request of their basic civil rights. I know that’s not a small order but if they look at it now it would have been so much easier over the long run for both sides. Plus if they would have allowed the Irish their civil rights it would made the Irish happier and entail making both sides see eye-to-eye. Also costing the British government a lot less money because they would never have had to pay compensation to all the families of those affected from Bloody Sunday. This is a day in Irish history that will never be forgotten and its all because of a horrible tragedy that could have all been easily avoided. I feel like from the results of Bloody Sunday every single country in the world should allow their citizens at least their basic rights because no one ever wants to deal with something as awful as Bloody Sunday again.
In conclusion I feel that the way the British army handled this situation they should be ashamed of themselves. Especially with the fact that they are considered an “army” there should have never been a need for them to shoot at an unarmed crowd for a civil rights march that they were making even though it was against the law that’s beside the point. But especially when it’s regarding something as basic as a humans civil rights it should never lead to violence. Even though the results of Bloody Sunday were not good I feel that it was a positive for the Irish in the movement to their Civil Rights and freedom from British rule.