I'm working my way through past episodes of The Blindboy Podcast and this week I listened to his live interview with Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. The episode starts with an emotional preamble where Blinboy describes how an incident while out running brought him face to face with the shortness of life. That story in itself would have been enough to go away with and ponder on, but what followed was an amazing live interview with Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. Bernadette is a civil rights leader and campaigned for Catholic rights in Derry and Northern Ireland before and during the troubles. Blindboy describes her as Ireland's version of Martin Luthor King Jr. She also served as an elected member of the British parliament for Mid Ulster from 1969 to 1974.
During the fascinating interview, she recounts her trips to America where she received the keys to New York City and subsequnetly presented them in solidarity to The Black Panthers in 1970, her eye-witness account of Bloody Sunday in 1972 when the British Army shot and killed 13 civilians during a peaceful protest against internment, the refusal by the speaker of the House of Commons to allow her to speak days later during an emergency debate on the events of Bloody Sunday which resulted in her slapped the home Secretary Reginald Maulding in the face for lying in the Commons by saying that the British paratroopers fired in self defence, and her experience of being shot by the UFF infront of her children.
She shares her thoughts on the current practice of Direct Provision in Ireland as being akin to internment or prison for asylum seekers and talks about the power of everyone to use their feet and march for what they want in a non-militarised fashion. The interview is inspiring and well worth a listen.