Archive for the ‘“Bloody Sunday”’ Category


This is the Bloody Sunday movie reflection of my Pen Pal, Stevo Pendarovski from University American College from Skopje

I have always been suspicious about the real impact of the time flow upon our lives and it is proving correct time and again whenever going back to the vital parts of the “Troubles” on the island just “opposite to Europe”.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed frequently the same kind of troubles in the Balkan history, not to mention “troubles” going on “in live” nowadays from North Africa.

The general matrix is recognizable in at least two stages: first, on the spot and in the immediate unfolding of the chain of events, second, later on, in accelerated nation-wide political and security dynamic affected by the initial clash on the ground.

Up close perspective will expose so common and ugly elements of the picture so familiar: army against unarmed demonstrators, indiscriminate killing of civilians and state supporting openly the culture of impunity.

Consequences in the mid to long-term are also well known: scenes of spilled blood and dead bodies directly contribute to amassing the people’s revolt and recruitment of paramilitary units.

Undemocratic regimes had never been fans of the “lessons learned” seminars, hence their repetition of the same mistakes: instead of critical analyses on and the sanctions for the operational misconduct they are stepping up political rigidity and violence.

So-called “interment without the trial” which followed the Bloody Sunday has made definitive rupture between the state and part of the population that started looking for alternative political authority.

In addition about the soldiers: even in the decades of the bipolar world engaging the army for internal security has always indicated misbalanced civil-military relations. Although that lesson (at least on the continent) has been grasped much later, soldiers of today are in the barracks or in the peace-keeping missions abroad. Instead, multiethnic police boots are on the ground.

Movie in question is hard to watch, some scenes are utterly realistic. It sound cynical, but, it has always been much easier to follow pictures on the home screen, than facing a fraction of them in reality. However, despite of our “soft” or “hard” stomachs, historical events of this proportion to all of us extend a simple wisdom: small individual contributions on a daily basis can prevent humiliation and ultimately make our world better.

Using words instead of weapons will spare lives of innocent people. And of course, will spare future Governments efforts to extend apologies for the misdeeds of their predecessors. Is anything wrong with apology? No, it might be valuable for the future cohabitation, but in a specific case, it means virtually nothing to so many people.

Bloody Sunday Movie Reflection – The Only Winner Was IRA

Northern Ireland today is the example of reconciliation of the communities that were for years divided because of the religious and political issues.  In 1998 the government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Government of Ireland signed the Good Friday Agreement to end over three decades of conflicts between Protestant and Catholics. The conflict between the Ulster Unionist, and the Nationalist are centuries old. The Protestant Unionist, appealed to remain a part of the United Kingdom, while the Catholics liked to assemble with Republic of Ireland. This conflict included not only the political disputes, but brought the violence and terror to the streets of Northern Ireland. Bloody Sunday is a recent history incident that occurred on 30th January 1972, when British army soldiers killed thirteen civilians in Londonderry during the civil rights march against the internment without trial. The Government of Northern Ireland introduced special Power Act in August 1971 that allowed arrests and detention without judicial process.

According to World Socialist Web Site article Saville inquiry continuous cover up of Bloody Sunday massacre “under the Special Powers Act, mass arrest began and by-mid January 1972 there were 600 internees”. Such a brutal response created wage of revolt that explode in the civil right struggle.  “The brutal response of the British bourgeoisie in Northern Ireland was conditioned by the fear of an emerging challenge to their rule, not just in the north, but throughout the UK”, suggested Chris Marsden from the editorial board of World Socialist Web Site. (Marsden, C. 2010, June 18)

The glimpse of the violence that happened in 1972 is portrayed in the movie Bloody Sunday directed by Paul Greengrass. The movie tells the story on Ivan Cooper who was prominent figure of the civil rights movement and founder member of nationalist SDLP. As BBC stated in the movie review of January 30th2002, “Ivan Copper is not the name of the lips of many people.”  BBC in 2002 movie review Bloody Sunday leader finds fait in film wrote the Greengrass “remains a self-confessed idealist who came to politics because he believed in the notion that Catholic and Protestant working class could be united”. (Bloody Sunday leader finds faith in film 2002, January 30)

Despite the central role Copper had in the Bloody Sunday movie, an official report published last year rejected his claims that the journalist from the Sunday Times did not interview him.

For years and in the second official inquiry for Bloody Sunday that was initiated by the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Cooper blamed that his interview to Sunday Times journalist John Berry was fabricated. Still, the role and opinion of Greengrass is important because of his stands that use of force of British paratroops helped only IRA to increase its membership and to involved Northern Ireland in deadly violence for more then two decades.

“Before Bloody Sunday, I believe there were no more than 30 to 40 IRA volunteers in Derry. They had a very small base, small amounts of hardware and, most important, very little support”, remarked Copper for BBC in 2002. Not only the actors and eye – witnesses of Bloody Sunday events hold the position that the bloody victory belongs to the IRA movement. Jenny McCartney who writes a social and political analysis for the online edition of the British newspaper Telegraph stated that the after Bloody Sunday events IRA gained more supporters among “radicalized young Catholic man”.  “I was not yet a year old on Bloody Sunday: I grew up in Northern Ireland under its long toxic shadow. Its sole beneficiary was the IRA. There was only one Bloody Sunday, but thereafter the IRA and the Loyalist paramilitaries ensured that civilian blood flowed every day of the week”, underscored McCartney. (Bloody Sunday: The only winners were the IRA 2010, June 12).

In the 5,000 – page document that was coordinated by the Lord Saville and prepared for dozen years, he assessed that “What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased nationalist resentment and hostility towards the Army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed. Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland.”

The presence of the IRA members in the movie is almost invisible, but the viewers should be culpable to identify they strengthened their position in Northern Ireland after the British soldiers killed unarmed civilians. The Saville report described that Official IRA and Provisional IRA was among the civil rights protesters on 30th January. “What we have concluded, however, is that there is no evidence that suggested to us that any member of the Provisional IRA used or intended to use the march itself for the purpose of engaging the security forces with guns or bombs”, was suggested in the Saville report.  The report, nevertheless, notified that “Martin McGuinness was armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun on Bloody Sunday and we cannot eliminate the possibility that he fired this weapon after the soldiers had come into the Bogside”.  (Report of Bloody Sunday Inquiry. 2010, June 15)

This lead as to crucial and dramatic moment in the movie Bloody Sunday and that is the action of the British soldiers against the civilians at the protest. Catholic community disputed the report conducted by Lord Widgery who reported, “Paratroopers firing had “bordered on the reckless” and concluded “the soldiers had been fired upon the first and some of the victims had handled weapons. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair commissioned the new inquiry for the Bloody Sunday events in 1998.  The report was published on 15th June last year followed by the statement of current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In a statement to the House on the Saville Inquiry, Brown affirmed the findings of the report. “What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong”, appraised Brown. (PM: Statement on Saville Inquiry. 2010, June 15)

Then, Brown expressed what Lord Saville concludes on the balance of used armed force against civilians at the protest.  “None of the causalities shot by soldiers of Support Company was armed with a firearm”, appraised Lord Saville in his report. Even though, the Saville report does not indicated the responsibility of the authorities for toleration or encouragement of unjustified lethal force, still recognized the lack of discipline among armed forces.

The contrast between civilians and British armed force is apparent in the movie Bloody Sunday. It was filmed with the documentary approach to make the events of Northern Ireland history more closed to the viewers. I can agree with the approach of the director Greengrass used in the movie to catch at least a glimpse of a personal and collective memory drama of Northern Ireland history. It took more than two decades for the British Government to apology for the Bloody Sunday.  The revision of the past and the collective memory is something that every nation should face in their history. The use of documentary approach and showing the drama in the last minutes of its film, Grengrass opens the possibility to every viewer to seek for its true of the Bloody Sunday happenings. The role of the press and media is only a small part in this TV docudrama from 2002. It showed only BBC reporter asking why the military attacked unarmed civilians. However, Grengrass does not touch the role of the Sunday Times in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday because the movie ends shortly after the killings of civilian protesters. The 250 interviews conducted by Peter Pringle and Philip Jacobson for The Sunday Times Insight File of Bloody Sunday was pivotal material to “the longest-running inquiry in British history”.   (Times Newspapers Limited. 2010, June 13)

However, the key issue and the right of peaceful protest are recognized in the Bloody Sunday movie.  The importance of civil rights and the free expression of the opinion is the cornerstone of every democracy. In the light of news from Libya and the protesters that are killed it is important to underline that every government should investigate the killing of civilians. What is the difference between United Kingdom and Libya? British government undertook the investigation and finally apologized for the Bloody Sunday. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi asked from NATO and EU to investigate how the people in Libya were killed, accusing for conspiracy towards Libya. In a democracy, the society is prepared to confront itself with every misuse that might occur against the civilians and their right of protest. The negligent behavior after the Bloody Sunday event in 1972 exactly lead Northern Ireland in the violence driven by mixture of politics and terror. While we follow the news from Libya, we should ask: how many civilians will suffer in the anti and pro – Gaddafi protest? 

Work cited:

1.Chairman, D., Beams, N., Dias, W., Grey, B., Hyland, J., Jones, K., & Marsden, C. (2010, June 18). Britain: Saville Inquiry continues cover-up of Bloody Sunday massacre. In World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

2. Bloody Sunday leader finds faith in film (2002, January 30). In BBC News Online. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

3. Bloody Sunday: The only winners were the IRA (2010, June 12). In The Telegraph. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

4. Report of Bloody Sunday Inquiry. (2010, June 15). In The Bloody Sunday Inquiry. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

5. PM: Statement on Saville Inquiry. (2010, June 15).  In Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

6.  Times Newspapers Limited. (2010, June 13). Return to Bloody Sunday. In The Sunday Times. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from

7. Saville inquiry dismissed evidence of Ivan Cooper. (2010, June 20). In SundayTribune. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

Bloody Sunday Reflection

As violence ripples through the Middle East, it creates the impression that protests rarely remain peaceful. In Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Iraq, and elsewhere, protests that begun peacefully have met forceful, even murderous responses. While the blame for a large deal of this violence can be assigned to authoritarian governments wishing to maintain power, questions still remain. What is it about human nature that makes government after government so likely to meet peace with force? What element of protest allows for such rapid ascension to brutality? While political and social sciences offer academic, theoretical explanations of this phenomenon, it seems as though a more mysterious, more human element plays a role. Through use of “mockumentary” filming and editing techniques, the 2002 film Bloody Sunday explores this element, demonstrating the chaos and emotion so able to transform peaceful protests into massacre within minutes.

Film captures emotion perhaps more thoroughly than any other medium, as it creates the most lifelike representation of the actual event being depicted. Andre Bazin, influential film critic, believes that filmmakers strive to approach an ideal of “total and complete representation of reality… unburdened by the freedom of interpretation of the artist or the irreversibility of time” (Shaviro 1). If filmmakers were to reach that ideal, the emotion experienced by a film’s audience would mirror the emotion felt by a real-life participant in the same event. Although filmmakers may never completely reach this ultimate goal of complete realism, Paul Greengrass comes close with Bloody Sunday, a documentary-style film about peaceful protest in Northern Ireland turning sour.

Throughout the entire film, the viewer feels as though he or she could be on site, holding the camera—or not even worrying about one. Ceaseless wobbling, jerky zooming, out of focus shooting, and often non-existent lighting do away entirely with visions of metal tripods,  towering film lights and take after take of the same scene. As multimedia journalist Brian Storm puts it, “panning and zooming is not how the eye sees.” Greengrass seems to understand this entirely. The viewer’s eyes stay glued to the screen throughout the entire film, because this is not made easy-to-understand like an average Hollywood production.

Small elements that most filmmakers would purposefully avoid show up intentionally and have a momentous emotional effect. Camera flashes that obscure the speaker at a press conference highlight the intensity with which reporters try to capture a scene. Rooms so dark one can only hear what takes place cause a certain frustration, elevating the sensation of helplessness. This technique becomes especially effective during moments of life-or-death gravity. When the car on its way to the hospital cannot make it through, the viewer cannot even peer through the window to check on things. Furthermore, just a single scene’s audio includes various pieces of sound, each seeming equally important. The viewer, unsure whether he should listen to conversation, cries from off-camera, or sirens growing louder and softer and louder again, experiences the same conflict that occurs during moments of chaos in real life. Finally, the lack of change in camera angle during intimate scenes adds the finishing emotional touch. The viewer feels almost as though he or she has intruded on something personal, watching through a hidden camera or from behind a closet door. Greengrass prevents multiple angles and regular lighting from making these private moments into a public spectacle, placing further emotional significance upon them. In her book Packaging Terrorism, Susan D. Moeller discusses this phenomenon. “It’s our access to what should have been a private moment reserved for family and friends that gave the coverage the power it had,” she writes about an attack on Jordanian hotels where wedding celebrations took place. Access to personal moments spark human curiosity, and knowledge that violence didn’t just kill people— but destroyed intimate relationships— triggers heartbreak.

In addition to reeling in human interest, these few personal angles at the beginning of the film explore the emotional element of government inflicted violence even further. Greengrass creates the impression that these scenes are not public, and then switches instantaneously to dialogue between British soldiers. By exemplifying the “women and children” mentioned at the start of the film, and then moving without transition to men so seemingly unaware of these family intricacies, Greengrass fully exploits the juxtaposition of  private tenderness and public force. These transitions, in which the screen fades quickly to black before a new, different scen opens with no explanation, increase a sensation of chaos and helplessness. “The director makes things move even faster by assembling it as a series of blackouts, and all the cuts build a charged thoughtfulness,” writes Elvis Mitchell in a New York Times movie review. Toward the end of the film, these blackouts become increasingly brief and lacking in dialogue. In a traditional film, dialogue often provides the clearest insight into exactly why and how things happen. Here, that lack of dialogue abandons logical explanations for pure emotional propulsion. But despite the lack of dialogue and clarity, that violence would occur makes perfect sense when such fast-paced action meets intensity of emotion. “For all the characters on screen, we can glimpse their hearts in their eyes,” writes Mitchell.

Bloody Sunday makes evident the ways in which emotion and chaos interact to create force. Although disgusted with the violence, the audience understands the confusion felt by soldiers who fired. An official asks, “Well, what is force in a situation like this?” He attempts to justify his actions, but at the same time verbally illustrates the room for ambiguity generated by such chaos. The leaders behind today’s protests turned bloody employ the same strategy.   “I dare you to find that peaceful protesters were killed. In America, France, and everywhere, if people attacked military stores and tried to steal weapons, they will shoot them,” announced Gaddafi in a speech about military force used in Libya. Just as the British official in Bloody Sunday does, Gaddafi attempts to obscure the unjust use of force by referencing the frenzied situation in which it occurred. In a time when peaceful protests so often meet with force, a cinematic look into the causes proves especially relevant.

Works Cited

“Libya: Gaddafi’s speech in quotes.” The Telegraph 2 March 2011. Web. 6 March 2011.

Mitchell, Elvis. “FILM FESTIVAL REVIEWS; ‘Bloody Sunday’ In Londonderry.” New York Times 2 Oct. 2002. Web. 6 March 2011.

Moeller, Susan D. Packaging Terrorism. Singapore: Blackwell Publishing, 2009. Print.

Shaviro, Steven. “Emotion Capture: Affect in Digital Film.” Projections 1.2 (2007): 63-82. Web. 6 March 2011.

Altynai’s Reaction to Bloody Sunday

I wasn’t sure of what questions to ask Altynai since she was very  persistent in the fact that terrorism was not often covered in her class. So I asked her to review my “Bloody Sunday” paper and give her reactions. Read more

Bloody Sunday Reflection

Paul Greengrass’ Bloody Sunday, the highly acclaimed ‘mockumentary’ of the massacre in Derry on January 30, 1972 is recognized not only for its unique filming style but also for its unique stance on the British side of the conflict. In an attempt to avoid being subjective, the film goes beyond the typical portrayal of the British as heartless murderers and gives them a voice during this conflict. Although the film is not seen as a “fair” portrayal by all, it stands as an exceptional view on the massacre that allows the viewers to be personally affected by the film. Read more

Fear: Box Office Hit

The press, and film can be considered two of terrorism’s most prominent outlets in distributing and creating fear.  One of the most prevalent examples of our obsession with fear lies in the depiction and portrayal of terrorism.  Its presence will never age with time, and its existence knows no countries’ borders.  While we read about terrorist attacks everyday in the paper, its stories are carried onto film, and other means of media. Whether its context is completely accurate, or created by art directors, or whether it’s an article in the newspaper, or a box office hit “based on actual events”, its only message to its audience is “fear”.  While it may not seem obvious at first glance, film and the press produce many of the same effects.  Both the press, and film tell stories.  They also tell stories through an angle, or bias known as framing.  While the press may decide to produce a story on terrorism at an angle that focuses on government contribution, film makers may chose to tell the story from an emotional perspective which focuses on personal hardship throughout the event.  Film and the press also help to shape the opinions and thoughts of their viewers through this framing.  Whether the thought is positive, or negative, the plot of the story told is what shapes it.  The two have, no doubt, different purposes, but their final message always remains the same: be afraid.

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Appearance of Invisible Morality

The concept of morality may be the one and only concept that people spend their entire lives studying, and searching for, but never find the right answers.  What is morality?  The Oxford American Dictionary defines morality as “the principles of concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”.   While the definition seems simple, the confusion lies in the definitions of good, bad, wrong, and right.  While attempting to define these concepts of morality, our focus should not be on those who do wrong, but rather we should reach further and discover the fuel, which drives immorality to the surface.

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Movie Reflection: Bloody Sunday Analysis

Movie Reflection: Bloody Sunday Analysis

In the movie Bloody Sunday, writer and director Paul Greengrass1 reenacts the day of “Bloody Sunday,” a 1972 incident in Northern Ireland that involved military troops killing 13 residents of the area, as well as injuring 14 others. While the movie is a fictional account, Greengrass adheres to historical accounts tightly, and presents the movie in a harshly realistic manner – while fictional, the movie attempts to portray actual events.

This immediately runs into some problems, starting with the lack of an agreed upon set of events. The first official (British) government inquiry by Lord Widgery has been thoroughly disputed, and the second official government inquiry—the Sawville enquiry—is still writing its findings (and had not even completed the investigation when the movie was released)2. The movie largely does not follow the accounts of the Widgery enquiry, but instead follows the popular accounts by civilian eye-witnesses. Read more

Bloody Sunday: A slanted mock

         A mockumentary also known as a “mock documentary” is a parody of the often earnest nature of the documentary film genre as stated by WiseGeek (What is a mockumentary?). The film “Bloody Sunday” directed by Paul Greengrass and produced by Mark Redhead attempts to describe to the viewers a real life setting of the attacks in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1972. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association had planned a peaceful, yet illegal, march against the British government on January 30th 1972 which was stopped by British paratroopers after they fired on the demonstrators and killed 13 people as well as injured 14.  It is still unclear which party fired the first shot. The British army however claimed that it fired only after being fired upon, while the Roman Catholic community asserted that military snipers opened fire on unarmed protesters (Bloody Sunday). Bloody Sunday is a theatrical attempt at describing this controversial march, how did the Greengrass and Redhead give viewers a real life portrayal of the incident and were they successful at doing so without any bias involved? Read more

Munich, Bloody Munich

In its most basic sense, the docudrama is a tool of information.  It is a matter of the way in which the information is presented.  In some ways, the docudrama can be presented simply as a movie.  If the events are portrayed as such, the audience’s connection to the events grows fainter.  They lose the connection.  However, the docudrama also has the ability to create a real connection with an audience and start a discussion.  In this sense, the “…docudrama occupies a special place in the political debate simply because it addresses—and sometimes intervenes in—present realities…” (Hamilton, 2007).  In the end, the film maker has a responsibility to create a connection between the audience and the events on screen, and challenge the audience to make a difference.  Read more

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Terrorism and the Press

This blog is an integral part of a special section of Honors 394 Spring 2010, Arizona State University. Rather than a routine history course this dynamic, interactive seminar explores the interplay between terrorism and television, and other media sources on-line and in print. 26 students and their global pen pals comprise the bloggers. We welcome all to share their opinions, pertinent observations, insights, comments, feedback. Please post in a responsible manner.