The letter sent to the Ballymurphy Families this morning by courier from Secretary of State Theresa Villiers is a symbolic gesture of the contempt with which she chooses to treat victims of the conflict.
The case for rigorous independent examination of the Ballymurphy Massacre is undeniable. The dignity of the families’ campaign for justice stands in stark contrast to the lack of dignity of Ms Villiers and her government.
Her government know well the role truth can play in setting us all free. The statement by Prime Minister Cameron following the publication of the Saville Report stands as a moment from which much could be achieved and progress made. But it is a moment frozen in time as all other victims of state violence remain in a vacuum of denial and delay. They, like other victims affected by all other actors to the conflict, sit while the issues of truth and justice remain the subject of political debate – rather than the fulfilment of legal obligation.
All victims of the conflict deserve the dignity of the truth about the killings of their loved ones. All actors to our conflict have huge roles to play to ensure that this is delivered within the lifetimes of those who survived. The British state has particular legal obligations.
To choose to insult the victims of state violence and collusions as was done before Easter. To choose to insult as was done this morning not only to the Ballymurphy families but also those affected by the bombing of the La Mon Hotel. To choose to ignore all legal obligations. To choose to pretend to be a neutral observer to the Haass/O’Sullivan process. These are choices that serve no one. They are choices that compound the hurt and harm of those who suffered the most during our conflict. Choices that must be challenged by all who wish to see the hard work of building sustainable peace in our land completed.