TERMINALES LV2 - SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY - COMMENT
SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY
This song, entitled Sunday Bloody Sunday, is an extract from the album War, which was released in 1983. It was written by the famous Irish rock band U2. At the beginning of the song, we can hear a repetitive and regular drum's rhythm. It reminds us of the sound of rifles or of a military march. Judging from the title of the song, but also from the title of the album, we can dedecu that this song refers to violent events. Moreover, the two prevailing lexcical fields are those of war (battle – fight) and violence (bodies strewn – die).
In the first stanza, the singer uses the pronoun « I » so he is deeply implied in what he is saying. He has probably just watched the news on TV / listened to the news on the radio / read the news in a paper and he is surprised at what he has just seen / heard / read. He has certainly learnt a terrible news, seen unbearable images. He has seen such horrible images that he can not forget them, he cannot erase them from his memory. He is haunted by the horrors of war. « Broken bottles » and « bodies strewn » underline the violence of the event. The « dead end street » may be a metaphor underlining the fact that the war is pointless / useless. Through the use of the pronoun « we », the singer voices the opinion of the Irish people = it is as if he were their spokesman.
Then, he refers to his own song and wonders when we will stop singing it. He is fed up with singing this song. Singing this song means that the war is not over. According to him, it is high time we stopped singing this song. He wishes the war could stop for him to stop singing this song. However sad and rebellious the song seems to be, there is a hopeful and peaceful message : « tonight we can be as one ». He wants to convince us that it is possible, that we are able to stop fighting.
In the second stanza, the singer chooses violent images for us to react / so as to make us react and to touch us straight in the heart (« children's' feet « ). The semantic field of violence and death in prevailing in this stanza. In spite of the pressure, he refuses to take sides (« I won't heed the battle call »).
The chorus is composed of only two words : it is very easy to remember.
In the third verse, he firmly condemns the number of casualties and denounces this conflict, which is tearing the country apart. We understand that fighting is useless / there is no point in fighting according to the winner because in the end, there are no winners, only losers i.e dead and wounded people. What's more, war separates families and friends physically and emotionally speaking. He uses the metaphor of the « trenches » = normally, a trench can be found on a battlefield but here, there are trenches within people's hearts. It also refers to the gap between the Protestant and the Catholic communities. Both of them are experiencing the same grief / sorrow. The singer feels all the more miserable as nobody has won, neither the Catholics nor the Protestants.
In the last stanza, the singer wishes television did not blur people perception of the horrors of war. In fact, people are so used to seeing violent images and to hearing about bombings, house searches, shootings and bombs planted in big stores that it makes them confuse reality and fiction. Moreover, people have become indifferent to what they see on their screens. They watch the news passively as if violence had become part and parcel of their everyday lives.
However difficult the situation is, the singer wants to be positive. He wishes people fought for the reconciliation of all Irish people and also for the end of the troubles. He wants to believe in another battle, namely the battle for peace. There is a religious reference in the end of the song « to claim the victory Jesus won » = it conveys an idea of hope. He believes in the victory of love over hate.
Although bombings are no longer part of the everyday life, Ulster remains a divided country in which both communities still find it difficult to live together in peace. In 1998, a peace agreement was signed between the Sinn Fein (the political wing of the IRA), the Loyalists and the British government. It set up a democratically elected legislature and executive to govern Northern Ireland. Extremists on both sides strive to boycott the peace process.