After Bloody Sunday : Representation, Ethics, Justice by Tom Herron, John Lynch
Thirty-six years after the killing and wounding of twenty-six civil rights protestors in Derry, the new independent tribunal chaired by Lord Mark Saville of Newdigate is close to publishing its findings. “The Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry” promises to be the most comprehensive act of ‘truth-recovery’ yet attempted in relation to the many atrocities that scarred the North of Ireland during the three decades of political conflict. Mark Saville has the formidable, perhaps impossible, task of establishing the definitive truth of Bloody Sunday.
His attempt comes in the wake of many other earlier versions of the events of 30th January 1972 that have also claimed to present the ‘truth’ of what happened that day. “After Bloody Sunday” examines the portrayals of the day and its devastating repercussions in photography, film, theatre, poetry, television documentary, art installations, murals, commemorative events, and legal discourse. The authors consider their veridicity, their mechanisms of authenticity, and their assumptions that a particular medium – be it film, or language, or visual art – can somehow articulate the ‘truth’ of Bloody Sunday.
In the course of six thematically-organized chapters, the authors analyze productions ranging from high-profile ‘popular’ forms of entertainment – such as Paul Greengrass’ feature film “Bloody Sunday” and Jimmy McGovern’s made-for-television film, “Sunday” – through to lesser-known treatments in poetry (Thomas Kinsella’s Butcher’s “Dozen”), drama (Frank McGuinness’ “Carthaginians” and Brian Friel’s “The Freedom of the City”), and visual art (The Bogside Artists and Willie Doherty). They place special emphasis on the commemoration events held each year in Derry in which the families of the victims have – over many years – remembered their dead and injured, while at the same time building a highly-effective campaign that resulted, finally, in the new Inquiry. Drawing on their expertise in the fields of literature, cultural theory, media studies and visual art, the authors have produced a thoroughly interdisciplinary approach towards the many representations that claim, with varying degrees of confidence, to tell the story of ‘what really happened’ on the streets of the Bogside on the afternoon of 30th January 1972.
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