Ivan Cooper was a member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, where he was a founding member of the SDLP. His was a commitment to non-violence, and the march he was leading on January 30, 1972, was planned as a peaceful protest against the British government’s draconian internment policy that could lock someone up indefinitely and without due process. Despite the best intentions, a riot broke out, and the day became known at Bloody Sunday for the thirteen deaths that ensued.
Cooper’s commitment to non-violence has been sorely tested in the years since he witnessed Bloody Sunday in 1972. The film based on the events of that day delivers a powerful message about the futility of violence. When we talked on October 4, 2002, he recalled that day and the subsequent political fallout that resulted from it. He also waxed eloquent about his certainty of a peaceful future for his country, a sentiment I found to be a refreshing change from the usual political talk heard these days in the media.