28 August 1997 Edition

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Bloody Sunday appeal for eyewitnesses

By M McCracken

The Bloody Sunday Justice Group has urged eyewitnesses to the events of the murders on 30 January 1972 to contact the group with any information relating to events of that day.

The Group is compiling an extensive archive of eyewitness statements, and has issued its appeal for witnesses to come forward.

Group member Michael McKinney explained that thousands of people attended the 1972 anti-internment march, but that less than one thousand statements have so far been recorded. ``Many saw things which they may consider trivial, but it could matter greatly. A lot of people have yet to give their version of events that could contribute to the overall picture of what happened.''

He appealed for anyone with information to contact the Bloody Sunday Justice Group at 1, West End Park, Derry.

Meanwhile, Don Mullan, author of the book, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday, has denounced Canadian authorities for seizing documents relating to the atrocity.

Mullan has revealed that Canadian customs seized two copies of the book, three copies of the Breglio Report, and material on the Irish Famine.

The report claims that three of the victims of Bloody Sunday were shot from the City Walls, evidence which has critically undermined British explanations for the atrocity. Copies of material relating to the Famine were also seized. Mullan, in Toronto for a Famine lecture, has denounced this action as politically-motivated.


I just didn't know

Exhibition review

No Justice No Peace - Níl Síochán gan Cheart
Los Angeles International Art Exhibition
Curated by Trisha Ziff and Stephen Gargan
This was the simple poignant comment in the Visitor's Book by a Latino person after viewing Trisha Ziff's exhibit on Bloody Sunday at the Los Angeles International Art Exhibition last week.

Over 10,000 people saw Peace and Conflict in N Ireland, which chose Bloody Sunday to illustrate the topic. Cine film and sound weaved the text, still images and artefacts into visible injustice the spirit of 14 people murdered on the streets of the Bogside in a

quarter of an hour 25 years ago. The impact on the audience was stark. Not a day went by without people breaking down and crying in the gallery.

Significantly, very few were Irish or Irish-American. They were black people, Koreans, Japanese, Jewish people, schoolchildren, and the human genetic mix that makes North Americans.

The exhibit was part of a major art festival held in a complex of art galleries, a series of tram stations containing 35 separate art galleries. Two other exhibits exploring the theme of injustice and conflict shared the gallery with the Bloody Sunday exhibit. One portrayed the Spanish Civil War; another examined poster art in Los Angeles. Kit LeFebrve and `Artists for Irish Peace' added their considerable talents to the exhibition.

Curator Trisha Ziff, creator of this powerful exhibit, assembled a powerful selection of 8mm cine film shot on the day, still images of victims and text, then went to great lengths to get artefacts of Bloody Sunday. Every family was contacted and asked to contribute some possession. The family of 17 year old Kevin McElhinney, donated one of his treasured possessions, a T Rex LP. Paddy Doherty's family gave the boots he wore on that fatal day. Willie McKinney's family gave the 8mm cine camera that McKinney, a keen amateur photographer, was filming with on the march. The film in it provided powerful footage used to bring the exhibit to life.

One of the most touching aspects of the film was that it contained, that day, footage he'd shot of his family prior to the march - allowing everyone viewing it easy identification with the murdered person.

Another artefact jolted viewers back from domestic scenes: the Kelly family donated the blood-stained T-shirt their son and brother wore, a massive hole in the front of it where the bullet in the back emerged. Banners carried by the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign on the 25th anniversary march portraying the faces of the murdered, were incorporated in the exhibit.

According to Ziff, who spent several years in Derry in the mid-80s, the exhibit - which cost £20,000 to put on - was paid for by a private individual who is not Irish.

Jean Hegarty, whose 17 year-old brother Kevin McElhinney was shot dead that day, represented the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign at the exhibition and thanked all those responsible for it. ``The images, sounds and silent film took on the spirit of those 14 murdered people. I met widows of men who fought for the Abraham Lincoln Battalion - the US contingent fighting in the Spanish Civil War. They came specifically to the Irish night, and would have had an interest in justice issues. But they just

didn't know the facts about Bloody Sunday until now. They found the exhibit moving and an eye-opener.''

She explained that the power of the exhibit was its simplicity. ``Each person was humanised by the artefacts. Combined with photos and footage of the murders was a simple description of each, plus an excerpt from Don Mullan's book Eyewitness Bloody Sunday. Included were three newspapers of the time - the shock impact of the front page of the Derry Journal, showing the 13 coffins lined up in St. Mary's Church, Creggan, and also an English paper, and a French paper with photographs by Jules Perez. Trisha Ziff did a great job. This brought to Los Angeles and mainstream people in the US the story of Bloody Sunday, raising consciousness is a very moving way.''

By Martha McClelland

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1