When we think of change, where does the conversation begin? Does change just happen overnight or is it more of a long winded process? In the case of the terrorism attacks of the Irish Republican Army, change took over one hundred years. Around 1919, the IRA formed a resistance against british rule in northern Ireland. They were responsible for guerrilla attacks on the British army who were stationed in the north.
Fast forward to February 26, 1993 the IRA is still active and sets off a bomb in Warrington England, 50 people were injured and two young boys died
While on the leg of their english tour, The Cranberries heard about this tragedy and their lead vocalist, Dolores O’Riordan sat down and wrote “Zombie” in a response to this horrible events
This song amplifies the emotions of the Irish community as well as the European Union about the attacks. The lyrics speak out against the bombing and what the aftermath entails as well as the reaction of the Irish people
The band took this important message, this message of anti-war and recognizing the tragedies that ensued and created an international conversation regarding peace and anti-war. This conversation however has been going on for quite some time. Many individuals have been affected by the IRA’s attacks and this was not the first time a movement for peace has been brought up
the Queen was supposed to sit down with Irish officials to discuss England’s position in Northern Ireland. This conversation was interrupted by the bombings in Warrington. The attack left 56 injured and two dead, 3 year old Jonathan Ball and 12 year old Tim Parry.
These fatalities led O’Riordan to write one of the most popular songs of 1993. But what happens after the song is released? What kind of conversations could begin to ensure that could lead to change? Susan McHugh, like O’Riordan, was outraged to hear about these horrible events. A mother herself, McHugh, organized one of the largest peace rallies Northern Ireland had ever seen; an estimated 20,000 people turned out for this march. McHugh first held a public meeting at Trinity College in Dublin to see what other members of the public thought about these terrorist attacks. Later that month she organized the march in hopes of the world understanding where the Irish people stood and what hopes of peace could be found
The March and the Release of the song “Zombie” both sparked national as well as international interest in an issue that has been going on for a while. This is not the first time that song has been used to speak out against the issues between the United Kingdom and Northern ireland. In 1983 U2 released “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, telling the story of horror felt by an observer of the conflict between individuals in Northern Ireland. The main event they focus on is the Bloody Sunday incident in Derry, where British troops shot and killed unarmed civil rights protesters, bystanders, and children.
The movement towards peace continued and on April 6, 1994 the IRA announced a three day ceasefire from April 6-friday 8th, 1994. Five months after this brief period of peace the IRA announced a “cessation of military operations”-ending their century long period of violence and warfare. Many were unsure if this was true but the IRA retreated and peace was around for a little until 1996, 17 months and 9 days since their ceasefire the IRA dropped a bomb in the London docklands killing two people, injuring 40, and causing 150 million pounds worth of damage.
2007 the British army officially ended its operations in northern ireland, but unfortunately the agreement collapsed in January of 2017 and it has yet to be restored. With recent Brexit debates occurring there is concern that borders will be reinstated in northern ireland and tension will grow again. These events have inspired many things in popular culture. “The Ferryman” is a play written in 2017 but dated during “the troubles” tells the story of a former IRA activist living in a farmhouse with his family in northern ireland. It started off in London’s west end, I saw it the month it opened, and it has now moved to Broadway.
Netflix released “Derry Girls” in 2018, telling the story of Erin and her friends living in Derry during the 90’s-navigating high school as well as british army checkpoints and IRA attacks. The show actually features posters of the Cranberries and U2 in Erin’s room; paying homage to the music created by those individuals during this time.
The Cranberries’ “Zombie” had such an impact during this time and it was only fitting that it was re-recorded in 2016 to be featured on their 25th release anniversary album, something else-released in 2017
April 24, 2019 29 Year Old Lyra McKee was shot dead in derry Northern Ireland. The journalist was struck by a bullet aimed at officers. a New group called the new IRA is claiming responsibility for the attack; they are also believed to be responsible for a car bombing earlier this year
Many songs have been written about the troubles and zombie is no different from the others. This is saying this is not the Irish people’s beliefs. This is not me this is not my family.