The author of a new book chronicling Bloody Sunday and pivotal events preceding it has said she wanted to empower voices which have been lost over time.
On Bloody Sunday was a deeply personal project for Derry woman Julieann Campbell, whose uncle Jackie Duddy was the first person shot dead on the day. Growing up, her family didn’t speak about politics much, although she always knew her uncle Jackie was shot dead by soldiers at a peace march.
Over the years the injustice of the day followed the family around. Images of the day were inescapable; from a mural of Jackie’s last moments in the Bogside to images broadcast on TV every anniversary.
“My auntie Kay who grew up next door to us in Galliagh would have been the family campaigner along with her brother Gerry. So I started looking through all their stories and that’s how I got interested,” Julieann said.
“Basically I wanted to know more about Bloody Sunday so I ended up reading Kay’s books and my mammy’s books and educating myself. I was absolutely shocked and appalled at what I found out. It was fascinating to find out about the cover up, but horrifying too.”
The book starts with the origins of the civil rights movement, through to the Battle of the Bogside, and how the Civil Rights Movement and peaceful protest died in the wake of Bloody Sunday.
Julieann felt duty-bound to include those who are now voiceless. “I wanted to acknowledge the loss of people over the years, especially those I never really had the pleasure of knowing. Like Peggy Deery, the only woman shot, I used her witness statement,” she said.
“John Johnson, the 14th victim, again I went back to 1972 and got his Widgery statement. It was invaluable to have him in the book, his own voice.
“Other eye witnesses and family members who we’ve lost over the years, I’m thinking of Mary Donaghy, who was the sister of Gerald Donaghy. She campaigned to the very end about Gerald and the nail bombs and she died just shortly after the Saville report when Gerald was the only one not fully declared innocent, because Lord Saville said he ‘probably’ had nail bombs in his pocket, and that ‘probably’ did all the damage.
“So he was innocent, but he ‘probably’ was armed. Putting Mary Donaghy in there too in her own voice also meant a lot to me.”