The World According To...

The border is a state of mind: Looking for the line that divides Ireland from Northern Ireland

First published February 1997: Robert Fisk visits the site of Bloody Sunday; and tries to find exactly where the border is

Saturday 23 October 2021 21:30
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<p>Murals on the walls of ‘Free Derry Corner’, in the Bogside area of Londonderry February 1997</p>

Murals on the walls of ‘Free Derry Corner’, in the Bogside area of Londonderry February 1997

In the wall of a ground-floor apartment in Glenfada Flats, I found two bullet holes from Bloody Sunday, two gashes in the cheap stucco and cement to remind the Catholics of the Bogside of the power of a self-loading rifle fired exactly 25 years before by a member of the 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment.

“There’s another hole round the corner in Chamberlain Street,” a young man told me. “Would you like to see it?” And he ran through a litany without invitation. The Paras, the 13 unarmed dead Catholic civil rights demonstrators – the 14th who died of wounds later – the Widgery Tribunal, the lies, the humiliation.

I told him I’d seen enough bullet holes in the Middle East and the Balkans these past 22 years, live rounds that had turned the walls of buildings in Beirut and Sarajevo and Kabul and Vukovar into Irish lace. I didn’t think one more bullet hole would make a lot of difference.

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