A musician who survived a UVF murder bid has said he has no problem with an exhibit of loyal memorabilia, despite the fact that it contains a plaque honoring one of the men who was involved in his shooting.
tephen Travers, a member of the Miami Show band who was the target of a bomb attack on July 31, 1975, said he would have visited Saturday’s exhibition if he had been in Belfast.
Three of his band members were murdered when their tour bus was ambushed when they returned to Dublin after a performance in Banbridge.
Mr. Travers, then 24, was shot and seriously injured and survived pretending to be dead.
Over the weekend, items were announced as the ‘largest collective of conflict memorabilia ever shown together’ at the Raven Social Club in east Belfast.
The exhibition ‘Loyalism Development’ was organized by the Ballymac Friendship Center and friends of loyalist and community worker Ian Ogle, murdered in east Belfast in January.
The items on the display showed a plaque with the words “in memory of volunteer Robin Jackson.”
Robin Jackson, aka The Jackal, was a one-time commander of the UVF’s Mid-Ulster brigade and was rumored to have been involved in terrorist attacks, including the Miami massacre.
Mr. Travers said he had received an email from Washington that morning notifying him of the exhibition, but he did not know what the memorabilia was.
“Anyway, if it starts a conversation and people get talking and there is dialogue, isn’t it better than killing each other?” he said.
‘If I was in Belfast, I would see that (the exhibition) myself. I like to see how these things are done.
“As long as it’s an honest discussion and people aren’t trying to rewrite history, that’s fine with me.
“It is good that all these things are made public.”
When asked if he found such a stock market offensive, he replied, “It’s a lot less offensive than getting a bullet in the stomach. We are still a long way from that and I hope something like this will never happen again. ”
Since the attack, Mr. Travers has been involved in peace projects and co-founded the Truth and Reconciliation Platform (TARP), a charity that aims to give the victims of Trouble from all backgrounds an opportunity to tell their story.
In a statement, the organizers of the exhibition said: “For a conflict that has been the subject of so much writing, the fact remains that some key elements are misunderstood or overlooked.
“Ulster loyalism is an example of this. We are committed to working with others to change this.
“It is a reality that for those within the loyalist community who have played an active role in the conflict, their families and their supporters, there are many stories to tell, from the formation of the UVF in 1912 to its central role in the conflict , which ended with the 1994 ceasefire of the Combined Loyalist Military Command. “