August 2011


I found this video of a BBC Documentary when I was putting the video of the Ballymurphy Time for Truth march together. As my viddler account  got deleted, probably due to lack of attention from myself, all the links I had put up to the video had become obsolete. I have since found out, after opening another free account with viddler, that they only hold videos on their servers for 30 days. Now I don’t know if it means they are completely deleted or whether they stay on until some other files that users saved on the server are then written over your video files. Much like your hard drive doesn’t completely delete a file until it’s written over again unless you use software that completely wipes the files from your hard drive. Whatever the case it means I’ll have to keep going back and uploading the videos each month until I can find a more permanent solution. Youtube is out because you have to chop the video into 10 minute clips.

In fact, it very well may have been a youtube up-loader that I have to thank for this video because there are parts of the video that seem to lose a bit of sound and have distorted vision for a second, suggesting that I may have put the video together again after it had been chopped. Now I don’t remember where I got it for sure. I forgot I had it until this week. I thought all my videos lost when I had to re-install windows. I’ve only got the entire avi file so if I downloaded it from youtube there would be flv files of it lying around but there isn’t. Wherever I got it from, sincere apologies for forgetting about you, and if you know who you are then thanks.

There are many points in history where you can point to and say that is where this all started from. Then you can debate it till the cows come home but in the end, there are mostly more than one defining moment that leads us all to where we are. It’s almost always impossible to pinpoint an actual event in history that has been solely responsible for the following forty years of history. To me it is a mixture of actual events and the spirit of the time that pushes and pulls us all to the state of affairs that follow. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself too on account of the human race being slow learners. Genocide continues to occur, whether it’s called ethnic cleansing, or a war on terror, despite the warnings that fascism gave us in the early part of this century or the inquisitions of the early part of the 2nd millennium. This video re-affirms for me the belief I have always felt that the main cause in starting what became known as the “troubles” was fear and ignorance. All of the protagonists had a fear of the other due to ignorance. That allowed for things to develop the way they did. But ultimately, the unionist fears were that they would lose their status and that Catholics were just ready to reap bloody revenge from them at the first opportunity. The catholic and indigenous community feared that the unionist community was going to finish them off. The rhetoric from Ian Paisley and his Ulster Constitution Defence Committee was inflammatory and they had open links with Gusty Spence’s newly re-created UVF. They were set up three years before. Any observer would be forgiven for thinking the catholic and indigenous community were on the verge of being driven out of the orange statelet by any and all means necessary. For them, the fear was very, very real and tangible. For the unionist community the fears had already been shown up as based on false information and so now were irrational.

They initially had the unionist working class protestants believe that the IRA were planning an uprising in the run up to the 50th Anniversary of the Easter 1916 rising. They even had some conservative Catholics fearful of it. The fact that the IRA were nothing much more than a recreational club who studied politics and were heavily influenced by Marxism and who were positively against any kind of sectarianism or racism whatsoever, was lost on them. That fact only served to worry the already duped conservative Catholics more so. They had no arms to speak of and those that were hidden after the border campaign (1956-62), couldn’t be found because those that hid them had ether died since or had simply forgotten where they had stashed them. Any that could be found were in such a state of disrepair due to corrosion and neglect that they were useless. In total, they could only muster 3 hand guns and a Lee Enfield rifle. Besides, they didn’t want to get involved with a sectarian conflict so much that, they were reluctant to even involve themselves in defending catholic areas and communities during and after with the rioting that blew up all over the six counties in support of the bogsiders. This in turn led to graffiti appearing in catholic areas that read “IRA = I RAN AWAY”. In Belfast, loyalists burned out Bombay Street and 7 people were killed in rioting that had erupted there, to take the pressure off the bogsiders by dragging the RUC and the B-specials’ full attention away to stretch their resources.

This was all in response to a year of violence perpetrated by loyalists against the Civil Rights movement. It’s stressed that the Civil Rights Movement were campaigning for civil rights for all the six county citizens and not just  the Catholics. Evidenced by the presence in the movement of moderate protestants, such as Ivan Cooper the SDLP MP for Derry, as well as Catholics and non Christians. For the whole of 1968, the movement had been subject to harassment by the authorities, violent attacks from loyalists backed up by the B-specials and regular RUC, culminating in the attack at Burntollet Bridge (see google video), near the end of a civil rights march from Belfast to Derry that set out from Belfast on the 1st January 1969. If the catholic community or any independent observer were in any doubt about the legitimacy of the civil rights movement and the nefarious intentions of the Unionist community’s leaders and loyalists, then those doubts evaporated then.

So here’s the video of the Battle of the Bogside…

If the embedded video is missing, please contact me either through the comments or other means and, I will be able to fix it. Thanks.

It was a miserable morning when I got up and dragged myself out of bed as usual to let the carer in for my mum to get washed and dressed. With it being a Saturday, the carer comes in a little later to allow my mum a wee bit of an extra lie in. Not much mind you, but enough to worry me that I might be rushed to get to the march assembly point for 11:30 assembly and 12:00 march beginning. But she came about 10:30 and I was already waiting and had tea and breakfast organised along with my mum’s medication. This gave me enough time to leave at 10:45 to meet up with friends and comrades at Bellshill cross around 11:10, allowing us just enough time to make it to Coatbridge for assembly. The rain was lashing down one minute and then the next the sun would be splitting the trees, only to start lashing it down again. We didn’t even get the solacement of a rainbow.

When we got near the assembly point on Coats Street, you would hardly think there was a march going to take place at all, much less an Irish Republican one, and arguably now, the main Cairde na hÉireann march on the Scots/Irish Republican Calendar. With the truth having come out now about Bloody Sunday, our focus of attention has shifted to the Ballymurphy Massacre and that has manifested itself in the attendance for this march expected to far outstrip any other. It’s an issue that still, 40 years on, remains unresolved with no closure for the families. The very same regiment mainly responsible for Bloody Sunday, 1st Parachute Regiment of the British Army, are also indicted by the Republican Movement and all fair-minded independent commentators and correspondents of the “troubles”  and peace process in Ireland over the last 46 years. So it’s particularly relevant from a British and International perspective, that this crime against humanity be recorded as such. So as I said, this march has now become the main Scots/Irish Republican march on the calendar but there was hardly any police presence at all. If we didn’t know better, we would think that the march subject to cancellation without us being told. But we did know better and it turned out that the weather, as you will see, had driven the march followers to stay in shelter from the elements until nearer the start of the march. That didn’t explain the lack of Strathclyde’s finest on every street corner and every 25 yards along the streets approaching the assembly point. It was almost surreal going to a Scots/Irish Republican march without being stopped and searched at least twice during the 5 minutes walk to the assembly point and hardly seeing any police presence there at all. All became clear at the end when informed by Jim Slaven that the police had reduced their numbers for policing the march by half and it was clear that the police were adopting a light touch to policing the marchers and followers. It appeared that we were to have our own stewards be allowed to keep order who, unfairly in my opinion, come in for some stick by some of the march participants. No one likes being pushed around by any form of authority, especially Republicans and those of us of the younger generation, but I’d rather be pushed around by one of our own than one of the filth.

A comrade told me that there was a counter demonstration by Loyalist/Fascists but I honestly never seen or heard them. They cannot be seen or heard on any of the videos or pics I took. My comrade tells me that there were only about a dozen of them there and I’ve no reason to disbelieve his figures. I hope they all got home safely and were not attacked by Republicans on the hunt for stragglers. Just like the loyalists did to two, at least, people I know of at the hungers strike commemorative march in Glasgow this year. Luckily the scumbags had the brains to not have weapons on them on that occasion as they would undoubtedly have been searched by the police so they probably decided it was safer to leave their blades at home. The upshot was that around 8-9 Loyalists were unable to inflict much damage of note to two Republican stragglers who had become separated from the march. Let this be a lesson. If you are going to straggle, be ready and split into two groups, close to each other. When one comes under attack, the old trick of bringing in reinforcements close by, and take the bastards by surprise and kick 7 shades of shite out of them. Or wear good running shoes.

Anyway, the march went off peacefully as usual, but on this occasion, there were no complaints about the policing of the march and there were no negatives to report – apart from the weather – but it cleared up after the march began.

We mustn’t forget the reason for this march, the Ballymurphy Massacre when over the period of 3 days, a concerted effort to shock and stun the civilian population with orders from the top, in line with the new internment laws allowing that innocent people be arrested and detained without charge indefinitely, resulted in the murder of 11 innocent people. These included a Parish Priest and a 45-year-old Mother of 8. 1st Para were let loose and encouraged to do this with impunity. This gave them the green light to go ahead and commit the more widely known atrocity known as Bloody Sunday. Had these animals been brought to account for their actions in Ballymurphy, they very well may not have had the green light to commit the atrocity in Derry 5 months later. That’s why this march is of such importance. After 40 years the families are still awaiting justice for their families. Their were 9 representatives of the victim’s families at the march and their presence is greatly appreciated to raise awareness of this crime against humanity. Included in the delegation was the daughter of Joan Connolly (50) Irene Connolly, and she gave a speech at the end of the march it was very emotional for her and it is quite hard to make her out. I’ve tried to boost the sound so she is heard and understood clearly but she gave an excellent and humble but spirited speech. It’s important that the families’ message gets out, everywhere across the Celtic Isles.

Recently trouble has flared after the met police force shot dead a youth in circumstances as yet not confirmed. The riots that have ensued since that death, on Thursday, although  not entirely due to the death itself but to the poor treatment of working class families, whatever race, by this Government. The disorder has left England in a state of shock since the killing of Mark Duggan (29) in Tottenham. This sort of thing happened in the six counties regularly and it just goes to show how restrained the republican movement has been over the years. We were just expected to put up with it, but they don’t put up  with it in England do they?

Enjoy the Video of the march.

Footnote: I forgot to mention that the two republican stragglers I know who were set upon by a gang of Loyalist/Fascists, were helped by protestant clergy or elders, who gave them money to get a taxi to Buchanan Street bus station safely. That is what Christianity is supposed to be about. So all you ignorant orange bastards take note.  The faith you are supposedly marching for every year to celebrate the right to practice, flies in the face of everything the Orange institution stands for. Thanks to the protestant church members for helping my friend out in their time of need.  Be assured that my two friends do not bear anyone ill will on account of their faith. In fact, they are both of different faiths themselves.