The report of the Saville Inquiry will be released today, and so i wont predict what it will say. However, I do have three points to make in advance.
1. For those who seek justice, seek convictions and imprisonment of British army officers who killed, it is worth bearing in mind how many IRA terrorists who also have killed before and since that day, who have been pardoned and released. Was that right? No. Does it mean the British soldiers who gunned down civilians deserve to not face justice? No. However what should happen?
2. Reflect on how utterly disgusting and repulsive it is that the Blair Administration seems to have given a blank cheque on time and money for this Inquiry. £191 million is so far beyond what even compensation for the victims and their families would be, that it shows once more what happens when governments treat those they are meant to serve with contempt. It should not take twelve years and £15 million a year to gather evidence, and come to conclusions. I don’t expect much self reflection from those who have profited indirectly from Bloody Sunday.
3. More important than all of this, consider how tribalism, this time flavoured with religious sectarianism, can completely disregard the rights of the individual. How mind numbingly stupid it is to label anyone Catholic or Protestant, when it is simply about "us and them", with the same mentality that has seen the blood of millions spilt. The same mentality as in Rwanda, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Nazi Germany, former Yugoslavia and the list goes on, and on. The surrender of the individual to the group, the demonising of the "other" (outsiders), and glorification of the "group". It is only tragically funny when you consider how unlikely in most cases to find such people in Northern Ireland capable of holding cogent arguments about theology. The Northern Ireland peace process has NOT been about rigorously pushing individual rights,and reason to reject the knuckle-dragging mentality of religious sectarianism. Instead it has been about ending the fighting, keeping quiet and moving on, whilst British taxpayers have poured a fortune to prop up an economy on life support.
The malignant, evil philosophy that blends religious hatred (fired up by churches on both sides, seen most recently in the insane rants by Reverend Ian Paisley shouting "antichrist" at the previous Pope), tribalism and scape-goating has left Northern Ireland still full of many who think the poverty, desolation and decay of the region is due to what the "other side" did. Meanwhile, with a British government facing fiscal ruin, perhaps the chance exists for the 70% of the Northern Ireland economy "produced" from the state sector, to be paired back, and for the people of Ulster to start focusing on themselves, generating wealth and prosperity and treating each other as individuals, rather than members of communities that exist in their heads.