Archive for the ‘IRA’ Category

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

Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday Movie Reflection

The movie “Bloody Sunday” was a ‘mockumentary’ (fiction-documentary) film depicting the events of January 30, 1972. In the film, British Paramilitary troops attack civilians participating in a march for civil rights in the Northern Ireland town of Londonderry. The film was written and directed by a Paul Greengrass. “John Kelly, whose brother was shot and killed in the incident, said he (Mr. Greengrass) consulted many families who were present there on that day. The families trusted the film makers to ‘tell the truth.’ We already know the truth. Our people’s right to life was taken by the British military.” Mr. Kelly also added that he “believed they will portray the film as it should be portrayed. Paul Greengrass and Mark Redhead (the producer) are people of integrity” (BBC News). This leads to discussing how Mr. Greengrass was able to re-create the events of Bloody Sunday and certain film techniques he used to give the film its documentary feel. Read more

Clothing and Commemoration of Bloody Sunday

A Mockumentary, Bloody Sunday

The movie Bloody Sunday was written and produced well after the actual events took place in 2002.  Unlike most films that approach the subject, either dramas or documentaries; Bloody Sunday is a mockumentary.  In a mockumentary parts of the event covered is restructured by the artistic direction of the director and thereby often reveals the biases thereof.  The bias was significant part of the movie, for nearly all the players in the actual event have conflicting stories.  Some reported the truth, some were lies, and others were the result of faulty memory.  Barbara Tversky, Professor of Psychology of Stanford University describes the way fault memories work:

we might hear garbled words like “next,” “transfer,” and “train.” Building on our assumptions    and knowledge, we may put together the actual statement… we may even remember having           heard the full statement.

As a result, the director making a movie of a controversial event has a colossal degree of leeway since no eyewitness account will be perfect.

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Luck of the Irish Republican Army

The Northern Ireland conflict is an extremely complex situation that has blurred the line between political activist and terrorist for decades. During this time, the media has had an important role in shaping the public’s perception of the events and what to make of the many factions in play. Read more

Irish Conflicts: IRA, UDA, and UFF

Irish Conflicts: The IRA, UDA, and UFF

Midterm Questions
Question 1: This Irish Republican Army was supported by what political party?
a. An Phoblacht
b. The Ulster Democratic Party
c. The Progressive Unionist Party
d. Sinn Fein. (Correct Answer)

Question 2: How was the media of Northern Ireland affected during “The Troubles”?
a. News outlets remained objective in their approach.
b. Most news organizations sided with the British, for fear of persecution.
c. Split along partisan lines, media were nearly always associated with a particular party. (Correct      Answer)
d. The Ulster Defense Association and the Ulster Freedom Fighters received media popularity in            Southern Ireland.
Question 3: What were the two mains reasons for conflict between the Irish Catholics and English Protestants?

a. Differences in Religious beliefs
b. Treatment of Catholics by Protestants in 1700-1900’s
c. Irelands desire for independence from Britian
d. Both a. and b. (Correct Answer)

e. Both b. and c.

Question 4: Sinn Fein found its voice through what news organization?
a. Irish News
b. The News Letter
c. An Phoblacht/Republican News (Correct Answer)
d. Belfast Telegraph

Question 5: Which of the following was NOT a major component of the Treaty of Belfast (a.k.a. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998)
a. Immediate disarmament of paramilitary groups (Correct Answer)
b. The establishment of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
c. The reformation of the police force
d. The commitment by all paramilitary groups to approach political issues through “peaceful and democratic means.”

Main Points


  • British immigrants and colonialists bought and confiscated land which determined political representation.
  • By 1913 both Unionists and Nationalists had formed paramilitary groups to oppose each others’ political aspirations – the Ulster and Irish Volunteers.

Key Players and Political Parties

  • On the Republican side, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was backed by the Sinn Fein political party
  • On the Loyalist side, the Ulster Defense Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) were backed by the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP).

The Troubles

  • Period of paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland. Lasted from 1966 to 1998. Ended with the Treaty of Belfast

Media Coverage

  • Sinn Fein utilizes An Phoblacht (The Republic) as voice for political ideologies in the Republic of Ireland. The publication’s sister organization, Republican News, was widely circulated in Northern Ireland.
  • British government bans the IRA from broadcasts (1988-1994).
  • Paramilitaries attempt to use major publications, such as Irish News, for political agenda.
  • Highly partisan and fractured coverage with massive numbers of newletters, newspapers, and tabloids around.

The Belfast Agreement

  • 1998. Main Provisions: “Establishment of the commitment by all parties to use exclusively peaceful and democratic means.”
  • May 2000 = tentative disarmament date. Not achieved due to vague wording of the agreement, but a number of groups did disarm around that date.

Current Issues

  • Two British soldiers killed in March 2009
    • The Real IRA claimed credit for the attack
    • Sinn Fein denounces attack, calling it “counter-productive”
  • Feb 6, 2010: Irish National Libertarian Army announces it has disarmed
    • Law allowing paramilitary groups to hand over weapons without prosecution expired Feb. 9




3. Ireland’s History in Maps

4. Department of Culture, Arts, and Leisure of Ireland

5. Kilkenny County Library Service

6. Alan F. Parkinson. Belfast’s UnHoly War

7. Robert Lynch. Northern Ireland and the Early Years of Partition

9. Barnett, Brooke, and Amy Reynolds. Terrorism and the Press: An Uneasy Relationship. 1. New         York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2009. Print.
10. Tim Cooke, “Paramilitaries and the Press in Northern Ireland,” in Pippa Norris, Montague Kern,     and Marion Just, eds. Framing Terrorism: The News Media, the Government, and the Public (New     York: Routledge, 2003), 75-90.


13. Link to the Belfast Agreement:


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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.