Never forgive, never forget!

'Family, Friends and Neighbours. An Irish Photobiography'   by Oistín MacBride
Beyond The Pale, 2001, ISBN 1-900960-12-5, £24.90

A brilliant and emotive retrospective collection of intensely and personally moving images of the oppressed Nationalist and Republican people under the aegis of the British Army, the RUC, the UDR and the Orange and Loyalist assassination gangs. Funerals, mourning and suffering, heroic resistance, defiance and dignified grief. Oistín has courageously risked his life – and, one suspects personal sanity – to give us this absolutely vital historical record.

Some of the shots rival those of the legendary Don McCullin. For any Republican this is a sad trip down memory mile – old ghosts' images coming swimming out of the pages. Many are dead now, but thanks to their families, the movement and artists like Oistín they will never be forgotten. The plain people of Ireland. The young farm boys or ghetto dwellers who fought, gave their lives or endured, between them, over 10,000 years jail from the 'forces of social democracy'.

The agencies who deride the book for 'lack of balance' should hide their heads in shame and crawl back under the rocks from which they originally slithered. As Oistín so aptly put it at the book launch in the new Gasyard Arts and Community Centre in Derry "if I do a photojournalist book on the victimized of the Holocaust do I have to show the 'grief' of the concentration camp guards?" Irish Republicanism and Nationalism has for so many years been rewritten, denigrated, demonized and censored that it should surely come as no surprise that the oppressed people have taken upon themselves to preserve their history and expand their burgeoning new culture without forgetting their past?

McGuinness and O'Connor

Our favorite two photos are of Martin McGuinness paying obeisance to the late Cardinal John O'Connor outside St. Patrick's cathedral in New York (see above) and of the 'blessed' Fr. McMenimen pulling the tricolour off the coffin of Kevin Agnew (RIP) at St. Mary's church in 1988 (see below). Kevin's bereaved family were forced to open his coffin on the steps of the church to place the tricolour inside.

And then there's the wonderful photo of – oh! And the one of – hey, just get the book as soon as you can and treasure it.

Never forgive, never forget!

'A giant step for Irish photo journalism by an absolutely fearless and dedicated journalist.'


Funeral of Kevin Agnew

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