Derry Girls is a huge phenomenon. The gas craic of Derry Wans growing up in the context of conflict, ducking and diving and getting caught and getting away. Great craic altogether.
Here is the story of some other Derry Girls. Growing up in the context of a conflict and responding to the conditions that surrounded them. Taking to the streets and protesting. Getting shot at. Others taking a military route in response to a military context.
One of those Derry Girls gets caught. Her antics weren’t funny. They were dedicated and strategic. And the response to her isn’t funny. She is sentenced to life imprisonment in England and suffers not hours, days or weeks of systemic isolation and torture, but years. The strip searching that woman and the only other convicted IRA woman in an English prison endured at that time resulted in traumatic reactions described by health professionals as that suffered by women who suffered repeated rapes. She survived and that torture did not defeat her.
That Derry Girl endured all of that. She has spoken about how she lost her younger years where she might have become a mother. But she used her time productively, and gained excellent third level degrees.
When she was released she immediately became a persuader for peace. She travelled the country and argued for democratic approaches to building a cohesive society based on rights and respect. She became her political party’s spokesperson on reconciliation. She became a member of a policing board, building republicans’ confidence in policing institutions. She became a minister in a government dedicated to sharing power with unionism. She became an MEP, topping the poll in the last election. When BREXIT was proposed, long before it became a reality, she lobbied for all citizens’ interests in the context of the threat that Brexit posed. Since its reality no one on this island has worked harder to explore the possibilities of protecting all of our citizens’ interests.
That Derry Girl is of a different cloth. Wouldn’t make Channel 4 ratings the same way. But hey. Martina Anderson will do me.