Today was a quiet day, mostly because I spent the first couple of hours I was awake nursing a slight hangover and watching Fraser. I did FaceTime with the Momma Bear though, always wonderful to see her pretty face!
I went to the Museum of Free Derry today which was an eye-opening experience. I’ve heard about Bloody Sunday and knew the basic history behind it but there is so much more than what I’ve been told. I came out of the tour and the museum with the realization that the marches and Bloody Sunday were about so much more than religion. I had no idea about the British army’s involvement for so many years and how brutal life was in this area for so many people.
Our tour guide for the walking tour was seven when Bloody Sunday occurred. He’s lived in the area his whole life and remembers it clearly. He saw his eleven year old neighbour get killed by a rubber bullet to the head. He was heavily involved in the revolutionary movements in Derry after that and was also sentenced to fourteen years in prison (they basically had what we call the Riot Act in Canada happening). Hearing the story from someone with that sort of basis, that sort of history, of the entire thing was beyond amazing.
The murals, the wall that still sits painted with “You are now entering Free Derry”, the Bloody Sunday memorial and the realization that all of this was not so very long ago was heartbreaking. Some of it was still happening during my own lifetime, including the police and British soldiers raiding homes without notice or making arrests without cause.
I’m aware that being given this story from the perspective I was offers a heavy bias but there are still some things that you just can’t possibly ignore. When you walk through the museum and you see the jackets victims were wearing with bullet holes still in them, it gets to you. When you see banners that were used during the march that day still stained with blood, it gets to you. When you watch the footage, you hear the sounds and the screams, it’s bound to get to you.
There were a couple of people in the museum that were in tears. It really was that powerful.
No matter what your background or opinion on the whole situation, I really do urge you to come here and learn about this. It is eye-opening.