Ciaran MacAirt is one of Open Unionism’s regular sparring partners on Twitter. He is also an author of a book released this week on The McGurk’s Bar Bombing. We are grateful for his post here, where he asks (possibly uncomfortable for some) questions of us as Unionists and indeed British citizens:
A bomb was left on the doorstep of a family-run pub. It exploded, killing 15 innocent civilians. The family home was upstairs so men, women and children perished. The youngest victim was the bar owner’s daughter aged 13 (he also lost his wife and his brother-in-law) and the eldest 73.
Despite a witness to the attack and a mountain of forensic evidence, including an admission of guilt by the perpetrators themselves, the State and its Security Forces conspired to bury the truth and blame the victims. Without substance or substantiation they created the pretext that it was a bomb-in-transit or that the customers were being schooled in bomb-making.
Their disinformation and black propaganda became copy for the media and ministerial speeches: the victims were guilty by association if not complicit in this act of terrorism. Therefore, they were criminalized by organisations that in any civilized society are charged to defend their rights.
This atrocity and State cover-up did not happen in North Korea or Argentina. This horror happened in a city in United Kingdom.
Would it matter to you that pro-State, British extremists were guilty of the massacre or that a Unionist Government and its Security Forces buried the truth? Would it matter to you that the victims – although “British citizens” – were Irish Catholics in Belfast? It should not.
Nor should it matter that this cover-up began over 40 years ago (and not only as it is perpetuated to this day).
It is essential that we all recognize and attest to grave failings in the past. Otherwise, we will never learn from them nor be equipped to ensure they do not happen again. Instead we would be doomed to play out the same misery again and again.
Take heed too, for next the State and its Security Forces could range their powers against you and your family.
Do you believe that this could never happen on the “mainland” today in this, the digital age?
Perhaps then you also need to attest to the stories of Stephen Lawrence’s family and the families of the Hillsborough 96. Their families have humbled us all.
You may then wish to lend your support to the family of Daniel Morgan for they fight a similar fight today.
All of our families too may have believed it could never happen to us.
Ciarán MacAirt’s grandmother was killed in McGurk’s Bar on 4th December 1971. His book, The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth, is released this week.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ciaranmacairtShare on Facebook