Wiping Their Feet On The Memories Of Our Loved Ones

Kate Nash appeals for people to sign a petition in support of relatives of victims of state forces whose memory they feel is being besmirched by the Museum Of Free Derry. The brother of Kate Nash was killed by war criminals on Bloody Sunday.

The background to the petition we invite people to sign is very simple. There is a display in the Museum Of Free Derry which features British soldiers, RUC and innocent victims of the Troubles - all being commemorated together.

The MOFD argument is that it's a list or record of 1969-1972 featuring people who lost their lives as a result of the political conflict in Free Derry. They also contend that it has been there for 10 years and in all that time nobody has complained. What they are not so clear about is that this idea was in text on a computer and not an actual Digital display on a wall.

The display, if I can describe it, has 53 images. There is a mix of British Army, UDR, RUC, IRA and 
innocent victims. Sammy Devenny, for example, is the first image.

There are twelve seconds between each image appearing. There are a few names which do not have a photograph and in place of that there is an image resembling a window with a cross in it. 

I strongly believe that this constitutes commemoration. Photographs of these can be seen on the Facebook wall of Helen Deery whose brother Manus was shot dead by British troops while he sat with friends, unarmed and innocent. 

We have asked The Bloody Sunday Trust to take the display down because nobody was consulted about it. It is causing unnecessary hurt. Add to that the complete inappropriateness of the entire venture and you can understand how we feel.

We have fought for justice for almost 46 years without success and now these people are wiping their feet on the memories of our loved ones. 

I contacted the Museum via their Facebook page and there was no response. I then called Raymond McCartney and Brian Tierney who sit on the Bloody Sunday Trust. Raymond said he would bring it up at the next meeting. He was, however, unable to give me a date for that.

We started a petition after I contacted the museum. That first week, we gathered 1000 signatures and presented them to the Museum.

We were told after the official opening that they would reconsider their stance. In fact there was some mention that the display would come down. We suspended the petition in hope of a good result. Nothing happened for weeks. 

A couple of weeks ago they said they were sending out appointments to each family to discuss the issue. Nothing has come of this to date.

We started the petition again on Saturday past at a local supermarket as well as starting a complementary online petition.

I would be very grateful if The Pensive Quill could promote the online petition. This issue is extremely important to us. We want this display taken down. All our energy should be directed at the PPS and not be wasted on trying to get our own people to do the decent thing.

A digital exhibition on show at the Museum of Free Derry depicts, alongside those murdered and injured by the state, pictures and information about members of state forces killed in Free Derry. This is an insult to those loved ones, their families and the people of Derry who know only too well the impact the Armed Forces and the RUC had on our City. Victims and perpetrators are not equal and they should not be commemorated together, despite what the Museum has said. Tell the Museum of Free Derry to remove the names of RUC and British Army members from alongside innocent Derry victims.

Please sign the petition and pass it along to your family, friends and associates to sign as well.

You will be helping the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday.

Thank you for your cooperation.


  1. As a relative of a victim i am horrified. After clearing his name the last thing i want see is his memory being soiled by being displayed with combatants both military and paramilitary. He was innocent. That is the difference.

  2. Yes it seems disgusting that innocent victims are set with those who were uniformed and armed and chose their destiny as opposed to those who were totally innocent victims but really nothing suprises me any more shame on those who want to rewrite the past

  3. Is there one person on the Trust who verifiably suggested this unwanted addition? Is there anyone on the Trust who will stand their name behind it? The State 200m because these participants lied for over 40 years to cover up their actions. Gestures such as this should not be made to such actors, and if they are made, it should be initiated by the victims families, not imposed from outside.

  4. Well they did it when they defiled the memories of the men and women of 1916 when they erected that vile memorial in Glasnevin with names of the British soldiers on it....thats not reaching out that's cringing behind your history and redefining it.

  5. "Life would be impossible if everything were remembered. The secret is to know how to choose what to forget."

    Roger Martin du Gard.

    Unfortunately those who carry trauma from the past find this almost impossible to do. All very sad.
    Trauma is the legacy issue that needs addressing.

  6. HJ, we know from MMG experience in making gestures to the Unionists in Stormont they are not reciprocated.Ive heard similar stuff like "Peace only requires one person. It must be you" but surely this is a decision for the families to make in unanimity,not forced upon them to commemorate their loved ones along with those that bear corperate responsibility for their death.

  7. DD,

    although this is a painful proposition for many I doubt there's anying to be gained in editing or censoring the narrative further.

  8. HJ, if this type of gesture indirectly promoted a greater sense of healing among the affected, then it might make sense. I really think the treatment of MMG is the key indicator in that outcomes likelihood. It isnt censorship to not want to antogonise bereaved families for no possible gain. Infact there is the real possibility of facilitating the normalisation strategy, and isolating the Ballymurphy massacre families still seeking justice. This type of decision should be taken in unanimity by the families to avoid the victim heirrachy we hear so much about, if one objects like the author of the petition, it should not be allowed.

  9. DD,

    if the aim of the museum is to record the events between '68 and '72 in Derry then why should Crown Forces fatalities not be recorded? Their behaviour and deaths are essential to the narrative too. Any bona fide historical project ought restrict itself from a partisan bias.

  10. I wonder were the addition of British forces names to this display linked to funding? It's amazing how cheaply people can sell their souls and their people for

  11. Mossey,

    of course one must consider funding motives. However if we aspire to a more objective understanding of the past, rather than merely creating one which forges or reinforces collective identity through the nursing of grievances, then surely its wiser and more useful to broaden the record to include as many and as diverse contributions as space or time allows?

    Although I haven't read "In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and its Ironies"
    by David Rieff it does seems from a glance at some of the Amazon reviews to address bigger contexts and challenges of appropriate remembering and useful forgetting.
    Not one for the holiday reading list though!