Where is the equality or parity?
IN the midst of the high emotion added to the political positioning of Nationalist politicians already evident in the build-up to the imminent release of the ' Bloody Sunday' Enquiry Report by Lord Saville stands more poignant than anything the loss of the families of those individuals who died as a result of events on Londonderry on 30 January 1972 and there will be few if any who fail to feel sympathy on a human level.
It is regrettable then that the actions of former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in bowing to the demands of Sinn Fein and other nationalist leaders, in the lead-up to the Belfast Agreement, served only to create a hierarchy of victimhood and suffering in granting an enquiry into the events of one violent incident during a period in our tragic history which witnessed many bloody days and nights.
It is a cruel irony that an enquiry into one incident was influenced by the violent history of one organisation and the threat that they and their tactics might not go away.
Suffering is not for political point-scoring but the Abercorn, Claudy, Darkley, Teebane, Enniskillen and Omagh to name only a few are a matter of record as are those incidents in Londonderry and elsewhere when individuals were shot whilst they ate in restaurants or returned home from work.
These stand in marked contrast to the importance and financial resources given to the events of Bloody Sunday, a term which in its usage is hardly value-free, and serves merely to promote the narrow revisionist analysis of militant republicanism.
Its leaders are hardly innocent in regard to any responsibility for Bloody Sunday or similar incidents which occurred against a background of ideologically and communally driven violence before January 1972.
Such was all too evident in the death and destruction apparent at the time, not least in the death of two young members of the security forces whose lives were cut short and deemed expendable at the behest of republican commanders in the city at the time.
By 1972 also, the violence in Londonderry had provoked an exodus of unionist people from the west bank of the Foyle as they experienced war on a small scale but none the less intensely personal in character, in that it was directed against a community of people because of their political and religious background.
Those who have lived through it and lost loved ones as a result of violence will not find it difficult to show empathy with those who await the publication of the Saville Enquiry but will wish they could have been facilitated in the same way.
Should the outcome of the Saville Enquiry be that actions which occurred on 30th January 1972 were unlawful then this will have to be faced . Security Forces have to be accountable to the law which they put their lives on the line to protect and uphold.
However, it cannot be allowed to be exploited to serve a partisan and flawed analysis of the history of the period.
Rather, is it a time for leadership with a focus on resolving issues that continue to shape the present which, in seeking justice, puts aside any quest for vengeance.
There also needs to be sensitivity to the feelings and emotions of those who have lost family members yet continue to live with questions that are likely to remain unanswered. For them there is no equality or parity of esteem
Whatever the result of Tuesday's revelations, there must be time for reflection on their pain and loss.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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