Thursday, March 27, 2008

One For Your Queue

Add this to your Netflix queue. "Blood Sunday" is a dramatization of the shootings that took place in Derry, Ireland in 1972 that many point to as a trigger event for an increase in sectarian fighting in Northern Ireland during the period known as The Troubles.

What works about the film is how even-handed it is. Though it seems clear the British overreacted, and a platoon of soldiers lost their sense of scale and got caught up in the heat of the fight, shooting many unarmed Catholic citizens of Derry, the film also establishes a context for this overreaction, and hints at the history that could lead to a massacre. The language the British military use to describe the protesters (primarily "yabbos" and "hooligans") makes it easier to "turn the enemy from a 'thou' to an 'it'" (paraphrasing Joseph Campbell). The truth was, some of the Catholics were hooligans. But not all. The British go past the roadblocks (the Catholics were interned within their neighborhood in Derry -- which the British called Londonderry) ostensibly to arrest the troublemakers, but end up committing horrific crimes of war. (Four of the 14 dead were shot in the back.)

It's a fascinating look at an amazing event, told with great precision and clarity. Highly recommended.


Eamon said...


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Eamon said...

It's a miracle that there is now peace in Northern Ireland. I remember even the biggest optimists around in Ireland and the UK saying that the violence in Northern Ireland still had years before it would burn itself out. Well, history has proven even the optimists wrong. There is peace in Northern Ireland. Thank God.