forty years ago, thousands of people took to the
streets of this town inspired by the example of
Martin Luther King and those black Americans who
struggled against injustice in the United States
generation of Irish people, moved by the principle
of nonviolence as it was espoused by Martin Luther
King, rocked the northern state to its foundations
and exposed its corrupt, undemocratic and unjust
had rekindled an age-old belief that no justice
can come from violence. As Gandhi said that we must
be the change we want to see in the world they argued
that only through peaceful means could real peace
and justice be achieved here. But that message,
although powerful and compelling in its reason,
was drowned out by the monstrous anger of gunfire
and the bomb explosions that deafened us for decades
that is why we are here again today. Violence had
replaced nonviolence as the weapon of choice and
injustice not only persisted, but it flourished.
That is why, all these years later, ordinary Irish
men and women find themselves participating in a
nonviolent protest for justice on the streets of
Derry, the cradle of the civil rights movement.
this time, our protest is not against a corrupt
and unjust state. It is against those within our
own community who believe it is acceptable to murder
their own, deny it, cover it up and then justify
it to themselves in terms of their political struggle
and the policing role that they have adopted within
our communities. I have no doubt that Mark Robinson's
and Jimmy McGinley's murders are being justified
in these terms.
protest here today is not designed to attack those
responsible for this. It is meant to highlight these
cases and to help create the circumstances whereby
these families can feel that justice has been done.
It is necessary that those responsible for these
injustices act to end them as best they can and
I am appealing to them to do just that.
campaign is not an attempt to influence this forthcoming
election. It is an honest and genuine struggle for
justice. If needs be it will continue long passed
the counting of the votes.
will be focussed and imaginative and at all times
nonviolent, in the fullest meaning of the term.
No matter how long it takes, we will remember that
we are telling the truth and that no lie can live
for ever. We will remember Martin Luther King's
words that the arc of the moral universe is long,
but it bends towards justice and we continue in
the belief that we shall overcome.