Friday, June 2, 2017

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Nothing More Than A List

Press Statement from Kate Nash hitting out at the Bloody Sunday Trust and Museum Of Free Derry.

The hurt and anger which our family and others feel about the inclusion of our relatives on the Free Derry Museum exhibit, which The Bloody Sunday Trust and MODF chose to trivialise as nothing more than ‘a list,’ is clearly shared by others bereaved by the deaths of their relatives who served in the RUC and British Army. We have no wish to add to the pain of loss of others.

This is not about hierarchies or disrespect of others bereaved in war, it is about the accountability function, and governance of a community asset and the arrogance of those who manage both The Bloody Sunday Trust and Museum of Free Derry toward families who do not share their political perspectives.

The core issue here, is that without reference to, consultation with or permission from the relatives of all those whose names and the circumstances of their death form a single museum exhibit, the Trust took on to itself an authority that was not heirs to take.

Why did the Trust decide that this specific ‘list’ should be an exhibit in the museum? It is not a pre -existing artefact but something they consciously decided to create and commission. They decided the brief for this exhibit – the boundaries of this’ list’ both in time; location and manner of death. They designed this list in such a way that it includes local people, non-combatants, who died at the hands of the State and those employed by the state and others who died at the hands of the IRA.
Why did they decide to do that? Who did they consult on any of it? Nobody!

The lack of sensitivity, accountability and the arrogance of a Trust specifically set up to assist the families is what is at issue. Especially when the overwhelming local sentiment is that it is inappropriate. If this was the Imperial War Museum or The National Museum this list might have some rationale and be a lot longer, but this is the people's museum and the people's narrative.

The Museum of Free Derry is owned entirely by the Bloody Sunday Trust who hold it for the charitable purposes of the Trust: to support the Bloody Sunday Families and the pursuit of justice and truth. It is not private property!

To claim that because the Trust hires people who have themselves been bereaved through these events removes the need or responsibility to properly consult and be responsive to the concerns of all the families is symptomatic of the problem. This Trust has now substituted itself for the people, and acts as if it is answerable to nobody, and that the museum, together with the history of the local area is their private property to do with as they wish.

To ask if the Trust were pressurised into this action as a funding requirement is a valid question. They have clearly said this is not the case. So why and when did the Bloody Sunday Trust create this specific exhibit? They should produce the record of the who, when, and how of the decision to commission and create this exhibition and inform the people for whose public benefit the Trust exists who was excluded / included from any consultation process and on what basis?

Until they have secured the support and permission of all of the families of those listed on this exhibit for their inclusion, the exhibit should be removed.


Niall said...

How long has this exhibit been in the public domain?

This is quite similar to the names of the British soldiers being included on the memorial with those who were killed in the Easter Rising in Glasnevin, along with the civilians. Some of those soldiers belonged to the regiment that the firing squads were drawn from that executed the signatories of the proclamation....... would seem that our history is still being defined by Britain and money of course!