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The events that occurred in Derry on 30th January 1979 became known as Bloody Sunday. Why have these events produced such different historical interpretations?

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Introduction

The events that occurred in Derry on 30th January 1979 became known as Bloody Sunday. Why have these events produced such different historical interpretations? On January 30th 1972, civil rights activists were involved in a protest march against internment through Londonderry. British paratroopers, who were deployed on the streets, shot and killed 13 of the marchers and wounded others. Many people have different views on what happened and why. The main conflicting views are those of the paratroopers and their supporters and the views of the marchers and the friends and family of those killed. Source A is a newspaper report form the Daily Mail in September 1999. It is a report on new evidence released from the second enquiry into Bloody Sunday, led by Lord Saville. The headline reads "PARAS IN BLOODY SUNDAY EVIDENCE STORM". This headline states the situation that the report is based on. The report includes the opinions of different people on the new evidence. The new evidence suggests that the original tests, which confirmed that some of the protesters shot had been handling firearms or explosives, may have been contaminated. ...read more.

Middle

Source B is another newspaper report, from the Guardian. The headline reads "BLOODY SUNDAY REVELATION. This backs up what we have been saying all these years: the victims were innocent." This immediately indicated that the writer of the article supports the view of the protesters and the families of those killed. This also shows that the article may be biased. The article also does not include the opinion of the Paratroopers or their supporters on the new evidence. As the reporter seems to support the people who claim that the Paratroopers murdered the protesters, he may have decided that their opinions were false and not worth including. The article opens by saying, "The families of 14 people shot dead on Bloody Sunday last night hailed new and independent scientific evidence as a major breakthrough in their 27-year fight to prove that those who died were innocent and defenceless victims of British paratroopers." As with source A, the families would interpret what happened on Bloody Sunday this way as they had little faith in the government protecting them before, and they are certain that none of those killed had shot at the Paratroopers. ...read more.

Conclusion

He claims that the soldiers spoke of "clearing the Bog" and he told ITN "I understood that they would be clearing away the barricades. They said they would be landing with tanks. I got the impression they would be going to Northern Ireland pretty shortly". This statement does not include anything about the debated facts about Bloody Sunday. It is true that the British Paratroopers went into the Bogside area of Londonderry in armoured personnel carriers and cleared away the barricades. Also, Daniel Porter received this information from off-duty soldiers in a pub. This evidence does not support or discredit either the soldiers or the Protesters side of the story. It is possible that Mr Porter came forward with this evidence in an attempt to get media attention. In conclusion, what actually happened on Bloody Sunday is interpreted differently by different people, and always will be. Nobody can be completely sure what actually happened, as many things happened in different places and nobody was watching them all at the same time. The opinion of people living in Londonderry may be influenced by outside influences like IRA presence, and the views of the Paratroopers and the Government may be influenced by an attempt to defend themselves from repercussions. ...read more.

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