ARCHIVIO DEI TROUBLES AL BOSTON COLLEGE
Parla lo storico del Boston College, Thomas Hachey
Sono decine le testimonianze depositate dai membri di organizzazioni paramilitari lealiste e repubblicane, presso il Boston College nell’arco di 9 anni.
A confermarlo è Thomas Hachey, storico e direttore dell’Irish Institute presso l’istituto universitario.
Ognuno di loro ha accettato di parlare francamente delle proprie attività, a condizione che nulla sarebbe stato reso noto prima della loro morte. I documenti sono tutt’ora custoditi presso la Burns Library a Boston.
Si conoscono solo 2 dei nomi di coloro che hanno reso la propria testimonianza.
Si tratta di Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes (IRA) e David Ervine (UVF), le cui dichiarazioni verranno pubblicate il mese prossimo in un libro dal titolo ‘Voices From The Grave‘ redatto dal giornalista Ed Moloney. Si vocifera che l’emittente televisiva irlandese Rtè ne abbia già acquistato i diritti per la realizzazione di un documentario.
L’opera letteraria conterrà una serie di rivelazioni che non lasceranno dormire sonni tranquilli alla ‘dirigenza’ di Stormont.
E’ stato rivelato che nelle pagine del libro troverà posto la conferma dell’implicazione di Gerry Adams, attuale leader del Sinn Fein, nell’omicidio di Jean McConville. Stando proprio alle dichiarazione dei familiari di Brendan Hughes, lo scorso anno rappresentanti del partito repubblicano avevano loro chiesto informazioni circa alle ‘confessione’ dell’ex hunger striker.
Thomas Hachey ha dichiarato che l’intero progetto è nato nel 2001 quando Tom Tracy, irlandese d’America, ha devoluto un’ingente donazione al Boston College.
“Era un uomo d’affari molto forte e non ha impiegato molto ad arrivare a capire che c’è un divario culturale (in Irlanda del Nord) – non è una divisione politica e la questione religiosa è in realtà solo la superficie.
“È ritornato negli Stati Uniti con la consapevolezza che si trattava di un conflitto con due facce e ha cominciato a pensare al modo in cui avrebbe potuto dare un contributo al processo di pace e alla riconciliazione”.
Hachey afferma che ciò che si sta facendo è rivolto ai posteri, ma al contempo sarebbe interessante valutare ed analizzare le testimonianze proprio oggi dal momento sche alcuni degli ‘attori’ dei Troubles, stanno tutt’ora scrivendo pagine di storia nordirlandese e potrebbero confermare o meno se quando rivelato riflette ciò che è stata la realtà di quegli anni.
Per molti di coloro che hanno deciso di collaborare, ‘parlare’ è stato un modo per espiare le proprie colpe, per regolare vecchi conti in sospeso.
Dopo ‘Voices from the Grave’, con la morte di altri protagonisti (forse meno famosi di Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes, ma non per questo meno importanti) seguiranno probabilmente altre pubblicazioni.
US-based archive on Ulster Troubles (Newsletter)
The university carried out numerous interviews with loyalists and republicans
The man in charge of a vault containing candid testimonies from paramilitaries about their activities during the Troubles has spoken for the first time about its contents.
Historian Professor Thomas Hachey from Boston College told the News Letter that scores of interviews with loyalist and republican paramilitaries had been carried out for the university over the last nine years.
Each individual approached by Boston College agreed to speak frankly on the understanding that their account would not be released until after their death.
No one other than those involved in the interviews knows who spoke to the academics, with the exception of two men — senior IRA member Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes and David Ervine from the UVF, whose accounts are to be published next month in Voices From The Grave.
That book, written by journalist Ed Moloney, is expected to contain a series of revelations which will make uncomfortable reading for senior politicians at Stormont and it is understood that Irish state broadcaster RTE has commissioned a documentary based on the book.
It has been reported that the book will implicate Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in the murder of Jean McConville.
But Professor Hachey, a respected historian, cautioned about some of the reports on what will feature in the book: “Some of the speculation is wide of the mark.”
He said that there will likely be more books in coming years as those who were interviewed die.
The family of Mr Hughes, who grew disillusioned with Sinn Fein, were reportedly approached last year by republicans asking what was in his testimony but replied that they were not even aware that the veteran republican had given the interview.
Professor Hachey said that the Troubles oral history project began in 2001 when wealthy Irish-American businessman Tom Tracy gave the college a large donation for the research.
“He was indisputably a remarkable man of considerable means who came over to Northern Ireland as your typical, I would say, Irish-American nationalist who didn’t understand anything about the situation very well.
“But he was a very sharp businessman and wasn’t there very long until he came to appreciate that there is a cultural divide (in Northern Ireland) – it’s not a political divide and the sectarian issue is really just the surface.
“He came back to the States with an appreciation that this was a conflict that had two sides to it and he started to think of the means by which he might make a contribution to the peace and reconciliation process.”
Professor Hachey, who is director of the Irish Institute at Boston College, did not say what new information about some of the Troubles’ atrocities will be contained in the accounts.
“The people that we went out and interviewed were not gophers – people who were simply sent out on missions and had no idea who was sending them or why – nor was it the upper echelon, which is to say whomever the leadership may have been on the loyalist side or nationalist side.
“That sort of thing has been done by the BBC, NBC…this was really about the operational level. This first book which will be published does include two very prominent people (David Ervine and Brendan Hughes) – all (in the archive) won’t be equally prominent but all will have played similar roles.
“We began this oral history on the understanding that the documents would be sequested and embargoed in the archives at the Burns Library here in Boston.
“That seemed to be very reassuring to a number of people.
“We’re doing this not for ourselves but for posterity but by the same token one would like to think that it would be possible to assess and analyse this at a time when there are still people around who are contemporary to this and can make judgments as to whether this was a fair reflection of what took place.”
Professor Hachey said he believed that many of those who agreed to be interviewed had done so to unburden themselves.
“It’s a catharsis for some of them when they’ve suffered so much…I’d like to think in most cases they were motivated by wanting to tell their story but some of them it was probably to settle old scores and they would give a very jaundiced account. But that’s true of all oral history.”