Wounds don’t easily heal if they are not out in the open


Bono, lead singer of U2 and justice activist

Bono published on 18 June a very moving article on ‘Bloody Sunday’ and the Saville Report. Here are a few excerpts (thanks to David Neff for the signal).

On… Jan. 30, 1972, British soldiers fired on a civil rights march in the majority Catholic area of the Bogside in Derry, killing 14 protesters.

It was a day that caused the conflict between the two communities in Northern Ireland — Catholic nationalist and Protestant unionist — to spiral into another dimension: every Irish person conscious on that day has a mental picture of Edward Daly, later the bishop of Derry, holding a blood-stained handkerchief aloft as he valiantly tended to the wounded and the dying.

Contrast all this with last Tuesday … a bright day on our small rock in the North Atlantic. Clouds that had hung overhead for 38 years were oddly missing … the sharp daylight of justice seemed to chase away the shadows and the stereotypes of the past. No one behaved as expected. The world broke rhyme.

A brand-new British prime minister, still in his wrapping paper, said things no one had imagined he would … could … utter ….

“On behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.”

Thirty-eight years did not disappear in an 11-minute speech — how could they, no matter how eloquent or heartfelt the words? But they changed and morphed, as did David Cameron, who suddenly looked like the leader he believed he would be. From prime minister to statesman.

Protestant clergymen spoke of “healing” and held meetings with families of the victims.

Healing is kind of a corny word but it’s peculiarly appropriate here; wounds don’t easily heal if they are not out in the open. The Saville report brought openness — clarity — because at its core, it accorded all the people involved in the calamity their proper role.

In fact, it can be that quick everywhere. If there are any lessons for the world from this piece of Irish history … for Baghdad … for Kandahar … it’s this: things are quick to change for the worse and slow to change for the better, but they can. They really can. It takes years of false starts, heartbreaks and backslides and, most tragically, more killings. But visionaries and risk-takers and, let’s just say it, heroes on all sides can bring us back to the point where change becomes not only possible again, but inevitable.

Read HERE the whole article.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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