What other country boasts of several dates referred to as Bloody Sunday? The first of these occurred in 1916, when the Irish declared their independence in the midst of World War I. A few thousand men took Dublin; England scratched at the thorn in its side, called in some of its already-mobilized military from the war, and utterly crushed the uprising. That could have been the end of things, but the English then proceeded to execute the leaders of the rebellion, lending martyr status to such men as James Connelly. The public got enraged, revolted against England, fought each other, and finally breathed a collective sigh of relief when a free state was formed, with Ulster still under English control.
But for the purposes of this weekend's seminar, all of that is a bit far back in history. A panel at the university discusses the callous, albeit panic-stricken, shooting of 13 unarmed protesters in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1972. Weighing in on the tumultuous event are Andrew Wilson, author of Irish America and the Ulster Conflict; Denise Kleinrichert, author of Republican Internment and the Prison Ship of 1922; Terry Ryan, founder of the Children of Ireland Group; and Jim Keyes, coproducer of and actor in Sunday. That film, a reconstruction of the Troubles between 1968 and 1973, screens following the panel discussion and a question-and-answer session.
Released in 2002, Sunday used interviews with British government representatives, eyewitness reports, and court transcripts to reveal a purely factual account of the events, leaving the saber-rattling and mud-slinging of both sides for another time. Taken together, the film and discussion provide a straight-forward view into this dark time in Irish history.