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Marian Price Media Blackout

category international | miscellaneous | news report author Saturday May 04, 2013 11:17author by Brian Clarke - AllVoices Report this post to the editors

Two Year British Political Internment

On March 14th, 2013 Provisional Sinn Féin MLAs Jennifer McCann and Sean Lynch, met with Vice royal Theresa Villiers, regarding the continued internment of Marian Price and called for the immediate release of Marian Price according to MLA Jennifer McCann. Since that time there has been a complete media print blackout on the political internment of Marian Price.

Marian Price News Blackout
Marian Price News Blackout

On March 14th, 2013 Provisional Sinn Féin MLAs Jennifer McCann and Sean Lynch, met with Vice royal Theresa Villiers, regarding the continued internment of Marian Price and called for the immediate release of Marian Price according to MLA Jennifer McCann.

Ms. McCann said, “The meeting followed a visit that Martin McGuinness and myself had recently with Marian Price and the presentation made by Martin at her parole hearing last week.

At the meeting with Theresa Villiers, Martin Guinness made it clear, that Ms Price was not a threat to the public and that she should be released without further delay.

I gave a detailed account of the deteriorating condition of Marian Price's health, which has been added to by the recent death of her sister Dolours Price.

I also challenged the decision to re-imposing her life term licence especially given that she was granted bail and urged Theresa Villiers, to accept that Ms Price is entitled to due legal process. She should be tried in a court of law or released.”

Since this statement was made public, there has been a news blackout with regard to Marian Price, with all written material published censored. A Google search will confirm this. Inter agency communiques on Marian Price are also being manipulated, along with material on both Twitter and Facebook. It is the responsibility of ethical news agencies to investigate this matter immediately and confirm the welfare of Marian Price publicly, as there considerable public concern for Marian's welfare and the exercise may be further punishment to the many people concerned worldwide.

Media Blackouts like political internment are act of war that neither belong ina genuine democracy or in peace time. The Irish peace process has been considerably undermined by the British Tory Government since coming to power.

According to Wikipedia a Media blackout refers to the censorship of news related to a certain topic, particularly in mass media, for any reason. A media blackout may be voluntary, or may in some countries be enforced by the government or state. The latter case is controversial in peacetime, as some regard it as a human rights violation and repression of free speech. Press blackout is a similar phrase, but refers specifically to printed media.
Media blackouts are used, in particular, in times of declared war, to keep useful intelligence from the enemy. In some cases formal censorship is used, in others the news media are usually keen to support their country voluntarily as in the UK system in the Second World War.

Historical Media Blackouts

Some examples of media blackout would include the media bans of southern Japan during the droppings of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the lack of independent media correspondence from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.

During World War II, the US Office of Censorship sent messages to newspapers and radio stations, which were acted on by recipients, asking them not to report any sightings or explosions of fire balloons, so the Japanese would have no information on the balloons' effectiveness when planning future actions. As a result the Japanese learned the fate of only one of their bombs, which landed in Wyoming, but failed to explode. The Japanese stopped all launches after less than six months.

The press blackout in the U.S. was lifted after the first deaths from fire balloons, to ensure that the public was warned, though public knowledge of the threat could have possibly prevented the deaths. News of the loss of over 4,000 lives when UK ship RMS Lancastria was sunk during the war was voluntarily suppressed to prevent it affecting civilian morale, but was published after it became known overseas.

Contemporary Media Blackouts

A media blackout was used during the 2005 New York City transit strike to allow for more effective contract negotiation between the two sides of the dispute.[4] Most typically, the more freedom of the press that any particular country has, and the more sensational the story, the more likely it is that at least one news organization will ignore the "blackout" and run the story.

The 2008 abduction of Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung was given a media blackout to assure her safe return. All media sources obliged making the Canadian public unaware of the fate of Fung.

In 2008, the fact that Prince Harry of Wales, third in line to the British throne, was serving on active duty in Afghanistan was subject to a blackout in the British media for his own safety. He was brought home early after the blackout was broken by foreign media.

On June 22, 2009, when news came that New York Times reporter David Rohde had escaped from his Taliban captors, few knew he had even been kidnapped, because for the seven months he and two Afghan colleagues were in the Taliban's hands, The Times kept that information under wraps. Out of concern for the reporter's safety,

The Times asked other major news organizations to do the same;NPR was among dozens of news outlets that did not report on the kidnapping at the urging of Rohde's colleagues. Kelly McBride, who teaches ethics to journalists at the Poynter Institute, says she was "really astounded" by the media blackout. "I find it a little disturbing, because it makes me wonder what else 40 international news organizations have agreed not to tell the public," she tells NPR's Melissa Block. McBride says the blackout could hurt the credibility of news organizations. "I don't think we do ourselves any favors long term for our credibility when we have a total news blackout on something that's clearly of interest to the public," she says.

In 2009, on the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a number of social media websites were made in accessible and foreign television reception disrupted in China.

Some media critics have questioned whether the 2000 Wichita Massacre received little to no coverage in the mainstream media due to political correctness regarding the race of the perpetrators and the victims. Such critics also cite the 2007 Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in Knoxville, Tennessee.

On January 18, 2012, Wikipedia itself participated in a media blackout to protest SOPA."

Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/
author by John Kellypublication date Sat May 04, 2013 23:12Report this post to the editors

That no one may be deprived of their liberty save in accordance with the straightforward principles of an open trial and fair procedures is one of the ABCs of The UN Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights signed up to by Britain and Ireland.

The blackout you refer to Brian is repulsive. I have been of the view for some time now that we need a cross section of groups affected by this censorship to bring it to the door steps of the media outlets, including and especially, RTE.

Examples include RTE's burying of the the European Court ruling in January on Iceland's legal position visa vi EU law and that country's refusal to bail out private banks. The ruling was in Iceland's favour. Following several phone calls of protest to RTE they did report it, but 4 days after the ruling and at 2 am in the morning ! when it patently did not constitute fresh news and most of the population were asleep in their beds.

How convenient that the following week the govt copper-fastened Anlo / IBRC debts onto the citizens via their transfer from the 'prom note' to govt bonds.

The Shell to Sea issue is perhaps the most egregious in terms of what is happening our resources and the multiple ongoing human rights violations in that part of occupied Ireland.

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights recently delivered a damming report on Rossport. RTE coverage was zero. The Rossport people and friends can give detailed examples of so much of this and so much of what has been buried by the corporate and state media.

The seriously underplayed reporting last week of AIB and Bank of Ireland, in getting their debts written down via the Irish public again, this time the benefits flowed to the I N M group and to the banks, who may take up to 70 % share in the media outlets! Widespread analysis by RTE ? you must be joking.

Bord Gais retail will be sold shortly, the bidding is currently in flow , not a dicky bird.

Occupy RTE would be a very legitimate action and foreign media outlets have expressed a keen interest should this happen. Why ? They may be curious how we take so much with little complaint, but they are interested.

Could we get a consensus of the suppressed?

author by W. Finnertypublication date Sun May 05, 2013 10:22Report this post to the editors

Reply to John Kelly at Sat May 04, 2013 23:12 ...

From http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2003/en/act/pub/0020/pri....html :

"Article 13"

"Right to an effective remedy"

"Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity."

You may wish to know John, that for several years now, I've been trying to find a lawyer (or a law firm) willing to use the above Article 13 on my behalf: without any success whatsoever. I have NEVER even managed to find a professional lawyer -- anywhere on the Island of Ireland -- who would even discuss the matter with me.

Challenging government crime is not something that Irish lawyers, or Irish law firms, are willing to do.

Related Link:
"EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 2003, Article 13, William Finnerty ...
http://tinyurl.com/bv7p6fw

For somewhere in the region of nearly 15 years now, the State Broadcaster RTE, together with many of the rest of the local and international "MSM (Main Stream Media) Family Team", have been kept regularly updated (by me) regarding the ongoing difficulties I am experiencing in connection with the fact that I suddenly became an isolated "target" for government crime when I tried -- completely on my own for the most part since April 2002 -- to publicly challenge, through the use of both the MSM and the Internet, the unconstitutional legislation that was being used in connection with plans to locate two huge rubbish dumps near my home in East County Galway; and, the "Family" have all -- without exception as far as I know -- done nothing, other than to stay 100% entirely silent, regarding the whole set of related difficulties in question: which are personal, national, European, and global in scope.

Some specific information on that particular piece of "rubbish dump" unconstitutional legislation (i.e. invalid and illegal "law") can be found at: http://www.finnachta.com/BordPleanalaAppeal.htm

Some people with an interest in ancient heritage sites may be interested to know that BOTH of the planned rubbish dumps referred to above, one of which has since been built in the Kilconnell area, were -- for all practical purposes -- both positioned in a way which placed them right on top of the Esker Riada (more or less): which is arguably the oldest and most important ancient road in Europe (and possibly the world), especially when account is taken of the "Clonmacnoise link", a little "down the road to the east of Kilconnel", which is also located on the Esker Riada: and which is believed by some well-informed people to be the world's oldest and most important major Christian university, thanks to the prime role that Clonmacnoise -- which was created, and for centuries run by the "Ceile De" ("Partners of God") Celtic Christian monks -- played in the spread of Christianity throughout Europe, and from Europe to the rest of the world. (As some will already know, the Celtic Ceile De order of Celtic monks was "decommissioned", without trace almost, soon after the Anglo Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 AD, and with the "ruling elites" in Rome playing the lead role in the decommissioning process.)

Related Link 1:
Efforts to have the Esker Riada listed as a world heritage site ...
http://tinyurl.com/cvlq2md

Related Link 2:
Kilconnel Superdump, Celtic Waste, Greenstar, Esker Riada, An Bord Pleanala, RTE, Irish Times ...
http://tinyurl.com/bne78ez

Related Link 3:
Ceile De, Clonmacnoise, Esker Riada, William Finnerty ...
http://tinyurl.com/ch6un34

=== === ===

"In connection with what I feel is a very long and growing string of outrageous and convoluted psychological abuses over the past 10 years or so -- which has resulted (for me) in the set of major C-PTSD (Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) type psychological injuries that I am at present trying to recover from -- I wrote to Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP on November 30th last regarding my "Right to an effective remedy" under the terms of Article 47 of The Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union: which I understand "became law" on December 1st 2009"

"Unfortunately, I have not received any reply of any kind from Prime Minster Gordon Brown."

=== === ===

The two excerpts just above are from a set of three registered letters I sent on December 21st 2009 to:

1) The Right Honourable The Baroness Ashton of Upholland ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Ashton ), who is High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and, under the Treaty of Lisbon, this post has been combined with the post of Vice-President of the European Commission;

2) Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Gordon Brown MP;

and

3) Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland Brain Cowan.

Scanned copies of the registered letters in question, together with scanned copies of the associated Post Office receipts can be viewed at:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/BaronessAshton/21Dece...l.htm

As can be seen at the www address immediately above, there was an e-mail directly associated with the registered letters as well, also dated December 21st 2009, which I used for the purpose of trying to ensure a wide range of people knew about my efforts to get help from the three senior politicians in question.

In the event, I never heard a single word from Baroness Ashton, Gordon Brown, or from Brian Cowan: not even an acknowledgement of receipt have I ever received from any one of the three of them.

I'm relating these things here mostly for the purpose of trying to point out that -- in my opinion -- all of the people who (like myself) feel uneasy about the way Marian Price is being treated at the present time, and who, like myself, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I understand, may find that they have a FAR BIGGER JOB on their hands than they realise, when it comes to successfully helping her to get out of where she is now.

In a manner which seems (to me) to parallel the way Irish lawyers and law-firms are unwilling to challenge government crime in Ireland, it appears UK and EU lawyers and law firms are also equally unwilling to challenge government crime in European Union countries.

The ability of "ruling elites" to put themselves above the law, and "the people" (or "crud" as I suspect they see "the people") beneath it -- and to keep them beneath it -- is not new of course among the "ruling elites"; and, despite new laws, old habits die hard: VERY hard it seems.

In connection with such issues, I often think of the Gilbert and Sullivan line:

"What a great big opportunity to get married to impunity."

Just become a corruption-ridden lawyer or politician, learn to speak the language of "Double Talk" (in its many cunningly deceptive forms) with skill, and, low and behold, you are well on the way to such a socially destructive "marriage" it seems to me.

Related Link:
Impunity: the ultimate weapon of mass corruption and destruction ...
http://tinyurl.com/cgnggrh

Before finishing this comment, I'd like to state that, whatever else happens, I hope this Indymedia (Ireland) comment of mine is not going to make it more difficult for Marian Price to be allowed, without any further ado -- in the absence of any appropriate charges being made against her -- to go back to her home, family, and friends: which, allowing for the contents of Article 47 of The Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union provided in the section below, is where she now should be (in my opinion):

=== === ===

The Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union (which did not have full legal effect until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 1st 2009):

CHAPTER VI

JUSTICE

Article 47

Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial

Everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Article.

Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law. Everyone shall have the possibility of being advised, defended and represented.

Legal aid shall be made available to those who lack sufficient resources in so far as such aid is necessary to ensure effective access to justice.

Related Link:
Article 47 of The Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union, William Finnerty ...
http://tinyurl.com/cnoyt7v

=== === ===

Some final notes:

1) Article 13 of the "EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 2003 (Republic of Ireland), and Article 47 of The Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are typical of national and international laws/legislation introduced since December 1948 which are based on one or more of the basic principles of the text of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which I have frequently referred to in the past; and, as far as this particular comment is concerned, are Articles 9, 10, and 11: please see at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a9

2) It continues to be the case -- as far as I know -- that the now well in excess of 64 years (of age) "educational suggestions" contained in the following section of the United Nation Universal Declaration of Human Rights, continue to be COMPLETELY ignored by all (or almost all) of the member states of the United Nations:

"Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

And it shows you know!! -- and as can very easily be observed through a wide variety of cases: including my own, that of Marian Price, and those of many others who, for one reason or another started out by trying to challenge general government crime (such as unconstitutional legislation in my own case): and then, just because they try do do so, rapidly become the "personal targets" of yet more government crime of a highly personal nature.

The ways of the "ruling elites", and the protection of basic human rights, are NOT compatible: so what do the "ruling elites" do regarding the teaching in schools of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

I'll leave it to the readers of this comment to answer that particular question for themselves.

3) Extremely serious and important assurances of the kind undertaken, of necessity in the presence of others, by Republic of Ireland Chief Justice Susan Denham, and by Republic of Ireland President Michael D. Higgins -- for example -- BEFORE they can BEGIN their "puplic servant" (so called) appointments, regarding their solemn commitments to "uphold its laws" -- the laws of the Republic of Ireland that is -- appear to be entirely 100% without substance: as I have tried to highlight, to some considerable extent in the e-mail I sent last Friday to the United Nations, a copy of which can be viewed at:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/UnitedNations/3May201...l.htm

author by Brian Clarke - AllVoicespublication date Sun May 05, 2013 13:22Report this post to the editors

Today is the anniversary of Bobby Sands. Since the foundation of this state 22 men have died on Hunger strike. It is illegal to march on our streets and we are censored on our media, protesters are battered in our council meetings. They tell us they want peace, yet a hunger strike is about the only means left to protest and be heard. The following is an article I have written for Bobby;s anniversary..

"This above all, to my own self be true; and it must follow, as night follows day, that I then cannot be false to any man or woman."

What does this mean?

Why was it written??

Was it good advice???

The basic idea underlying this, is of being true to my own will or who I believe, I really am. Hamlet here is steering Laertes away from the existential doubt, plaguing him at this moment in his life. Hamlet then shares about 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' that oppress him. So what are these 'slings and arrows'?

These 'slings and arrows' are falsehoods, deceptions, cheats, lies etc. Hamlet as happens often in life, has been betrayed by those closest to him and is not secure in himself or his relationships with others at this particular time.

He advises Laertes about how to be an honest man, to be true to himself, not coerced or manipulated by others into acting against his own real self. Hamlet's argument is that he/she who is true to herself/himself cannot be false.

Is it good advice?, that is really up to me and you and the choices we make. If we read the whole extract from where this extract comes, we might say Hamlet is advising Laertes to be average or mediocre. Advising him to stay on the middle ground of life.

However there is much passion of the heart in this also, which recommends, the virtue of 'self', as opposed to appearances, shallow people pleasing, while always following the old hierarchy or status quo, with this being essentially a rant against superficiality.

Other's have said, that the most valuable thing in life is experience. I believe its good advice but sometimes it is tempered or balanced by the realities of life, with regard to the quality and quantity of life I choose. It is also pitted against the many contradictions of life, best said by another Irishman, Oscar Wilde with, "the truth is rarely pure and never simple."

To first know myself, who I am, why I behave, act, speak and react in the way I do. To know my subconscious, sometimes driving me to self-destruct. To know my real self, not just the fake one, to be true to myself without egoism. Much, much, easier said than done.I believe it is good advice, in the sense of when I leave this world, I leave knowing that I have been true to myself and in so doing, have lived the wonderful gift of life to the full.

Unlike Bobby Sands, I personally have not always been able to live up to this ideal and have pursued my dark side consistently. Bobby lived just 27 years but in that short time, like candlelight, he held it aloft in that place and time he came from in Ireland, to a world of darkness around him, while at the same time being true to himself and an inspiration for others.

I used to give myself a hard time, about not being able to live up to the ideals of Bobby Sands but then I remember another of his sayings; "Everyone, Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something."

Somebody asked me yesterday, how do we follow Bobby in a country, where it is illegal to go out and protest march on the street. I replied from my own experience, that really it has always been so for Irish republicans and socialists and that it never has stopped us. I suggested starting off, by picketing a place that needs to be picketed, using it to educate, agitate and organize and that essentially it is simple process.

This takes me back to what I call my own, "Bobby Sands Experience". I was in London,when the first hunger-strike of that time started, which was an extension of several years of the blanket and dirt strike, by Irish political prisoners. I had attended previously the huge funeral of the dead hunger striker Michael Gaughan from Cricklewood to Kilburn. It was an overwhelming, thought provoking, emotional and spiritual experience.

At this time I joined a weekly picket in London, with placards about prison conditions in Long Kesh which were dire. We also had a "loud hailer" and handed out leaflets to passers by, explaining as best we could the details of our protest and the prison conditions. We were generally treated well by the public, which was largely immigrant but also the ordinary English working class.

The protesters included, Provisional Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Socialist Party and a significant number of English activists, from the United Troops Out Movement, which included Ken Livingstone and his comrades from that genuine part of Labour which is rare. These people were an inspiration to work alongside with their persistent commitment and hard work for the Cause of Ireland. " The Cause of Ireland is the Cause of Labour and Cause of Labour is the Cause of Ireland." James Connolly.

I was regularly taken in for interrogation by the police but generally treated OK. I was totally unprepared for all of this and had as much fear, as the average person but my commitment and belief in the Cause of what I was doing saw me through. I would suggest though for anyone or party who follows, that there is some sort of tutoring or training needed, to prepare comrades for the experience. This is a major weakness in most parties of the left in my not so humble opinion.

The harassment of my wife and new born child started at home returning from work one day, to find my wife unconscious and the apartment ransacked for political reasons. On another occasion our new born child remained unattended for hours, while my wife was being interrogated for hours at a police station. We were forced to return to Ireland, as result of this harassment from the police. The back drop to all of this was that we had stayed for several years in the place, where the Guildford Four had been framed or set up for several life sentences, of which they were totally innocent. This injustice and common knowledge of many Irish people and professional legal people in London at this time drove us on.

During this time Sean McKenna from outside Newry was on hunger strike along with seven other comrades demanding political status. Originally the 17 year old Sean, like Marian Price today, was interned without trial for three years. His father, Sean Snr. was one of what later became known, as the 14 hooded men, who were tortured and experimented on by the British Army. Sean was kidnapped by the SAS and taken across the border, where he was tortured so severely, that his hair turned from black to white, almost overnight. The British were found guilty by the European Court of Human Rights of torture.

After 53 days on hunger strike, Sean Jnr. went into a coma hours away from dying, when IRA leader Brendan Hughes called it off after promises, from the British Government on a compromise. However the agreement was later broken by the British, when the hunger strike was no longer in the public eye. The Blanket and dirt strike were then continued. The reaction to the British breaking their promises was utter rage on the Irish street.

I arrived in Newry from the west of Ireland, on the day that bits and pieces of landrovers, helicopters, British lorries and approximately 40 British paratroopers, some of them vapourized, were sent flying through the air at Narrowater outside Newry. The British to this day, claim it was just 18 but like almost every incident in British Occupied Ireland, with the help of the BBC world service, they are still lying. IRA volunteers from South Armagh and South Down were held responsible.

In the west of Ireland where I had just left that
day, a certain Admiral of the Fleet - Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS, Prince Louis of Battenberg, Viceroyal of India - Chief of the Defence Staff, Chairman of the NATO Committee, Queen's cousin Lord Mountbatten was blown to smithereens, sky high, along with his yacht in Mullaghmore.

From his birth until 1917, when he and several other British royals dropped their German styles and titles, Lord Mountbatten was known as 'His Serene Highness' Prince Louis of Battenberg. He was the youngest child and the second son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. His maternal grandparents were Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, who was a daughter of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort. His paternal grandparents were Prince Alexander of Hesse and Princess Julia of Battenberg. Whatever about Highness, there was nothing particularly serene about "His Serene Highness" that day in Mullaghmore. For many of those who read the link above it seemed poetic justice, as it seemed to me at that time. Unfortunately there were innocents victims and while technically in military terms it may have been "a good job," it did not advance the Cause of Ireland or justice one iota.

Settled down in Newry I was horrified to see that the Republican struggle, had deteriorated into a shambles of dis-organization and demoralization. Unlike London there was little visible solidarity, with regard to the blanket and dirt protest. Other than a few stalwarts like Tom Lonergan and local traditional Protestant republicans, there was demoralization after the failed hunger strikes and muddled IRA truces and ceasefires. Then the lead up to the Hunger strike led By Bobby Sands, was prioritized.

Initially I could only muster a few young lads who were classed as "outcasts" by the broad republican movement at that time. Just the few of us picketed outside the SDLP civil rights, Rory McShane's solicitors offices, on the main Hill Street of Newry. Not many paid us a blind bit of heed, while the well heeled, elected, suited, SDLP electioneers like Provisonal Sinn Fein of today, scoffed at our poor, scruffy small protests. These young lads were of Bobby Sands age.

As the protest around the Hunger Strike progressed, the crowds came eventually. We walked the streets of Newry in night time vigils shouting Gerry Fitt is a Brit and called for political status. We walked the roads of South Armagh and blocked the border outside Newry in protests. We marched to Dublin to carrying the message through the Free State towns along the way. The stickies including the current Irish Foreign minister, from initially trying to stop the protests, with some bad beatings in the backs of vans to young lads, like the current protests initially on Marian Price's internment, started to fight among themselves, as the Hunger strike progressed.

On the 5th of May 1981 Bobby Sands died after 66 days on Hunger Strike. All changed, utterly changed as WB Yeats said of the 1916 rising. We were initially stunned. Many wanted to riot wholesale but the leadership in Newry at wisely at that time prevented msot of it.This leadership now consisted of the local branch of the H-Block and Armagh Committee, made up largely of the IRSP, some independent human rights and political activists and just a few Provos. Both the Official and Provisional IRA were badly split at this time in Newry. After Bobby Sands' death, with the help of Danny Morrison, ethical elements of all three "citizen armies" came together, to unleash a military campaign of utter rage on the local British war machine.

Again like the Mountbatten and Narrow water incidents, the campaign was militarily highly proficient, lasting several years but yet again it did not advance the Cause of Ireland or its people. These events are documented by Eamon Collins in the Killing Rage
an apt name for the fury, the British triggered with Thatcher's treatment of local man Raymond McCreesh who died on hungerstrike. The list reads as follows.
Name Army Strike started Date of death Length of strike
Bobby Sands IRA 1 March 5 May 66 days
Francis Hughes IRA 15 March 12 May 59 days
Raymond McCreesh IRA 22 March 21 May 61 days
Patsy O'Hara INLA 22 March 21 May 61 days
Joe McDonnell IRA 8 May 8 July 61 days
Martin Hurson IRA 28 May 13 July 46 days
Kevin Lynch INLA 23 May 1 August 71 days
Kieran Doherty IRA 22 May 2 August 73 days
Thomas McElwee IRA 8 June 8 August 62 days
Michael Devine INLA 22 June 20 August 60 days

My lessons from this experience are that Bobby Sands was on the right track but that a hunger strike is terrible price for a young man or woman to pay, because the gift of life is so precious. I feel particularly for the mothers, fathers, wives, daughters, sons and families of the hunger strikers, as I do, for the loss of all families Irish and overseas associated with what is called the troubles in Ireland. The whole experience has taught me that violence is not the way forward at this time in Ireland. When the clear majority of the island of Ireland demand a revolution to effect change and that is demonstrated clearly on the streets of Ireland, only then can this revolution be considered and effected.
Our task as revolutionaries in the meantime, like those young outcasts on the streets of Newry, inspired by Bobby Sands are the cutting edge of change. Bobby Sands was a prolific writer.The written legacy of this young working class lad, inspired me to believe, that perhaps the pen can be mightier than the sword. That we do not have to be great writers to make it happen, that a sufficient number of us committed to this exercise, despite censorship, cannot be ignored.
The 'Truth' can set us free, it is always our friend in the long run. It is the friend of Ireland in the long run. Our enemies will always try to provoke reactionary violence, to discredit and as excuse to intern us and continue to use their death squads. We don't need this. The cause of Ireland and the history of our struggle is a just and noble one. We do not need reactionary violence to assert our cause albeit we do need a considerable amount of patience.

I perosnally do not agree with how the 'Peace Process" happened but now that it is an approximate reality, I believe, it is the best environment to take Ireland's Cause forward, without becoming part of the establishment politics of revisionism or mere reformism. It needs the input of 'the people of no property' to keep it honest, to prevent it falling into the hands of the middle class like Fianna Fail. It is our responsibility to keep those who live and profit off other men and women's wounds, honest.
There is much material around this time and experience too painful for me to write about further, at this time. There is also much around my own failures and mistakes in making Bobby and his comrades dream a reality that has been humbling. I have stopped beating myself up about this, there is no future in that. Irish republicans who continue to inspire me, have a humility about them, that is neither servile or egotistical.

I will also add from bitter personal experience, that revolutionary politics and heavy drinking do not mix. I could tell you that I became disillusioned with revolutionary Ireland and became an alcoholic drinker ore Vice Versa but that would be a too simplistic. It is far more complex than that and would take more than a few pages to explain, besides I do have responsibilities to other people. It saddens me however to see an excess of finger pointing, rather than honest self-appraisal around the republican movement. I have been guilty of my fair share of it, I need to remind myself it time to stop, I do not build up my perspective by putting other down but we are human.

There is no future in this and it is totally unjust to point a finger at any other Irish republican, unless you have walked in their shoes. Perhaps at best, we have the dubious luxury of being be judged by their peers. It is time in the interests of unity and sticking together, to forgive without forgetting the many lessons and to move on to another phase of the struggle, which will be equally tough and requires solidarity. Blackmail by the British Secret services, after such a long struggle is far more extensive, than the Movement cares to admit. It needs to addressed in a thorough manner for Ireland's sake.

Pickets, street protests, campaigns of civil disobedience and dare i say that oh so painful word that is so heart breaking, hunger strike are the way forward in the shadow of the 9/11 and 7/7 narratives. The British are recruiting the Americans and the world to their side with it.

Hunger Strikes
KING: ... He has chosen death:
Refusing to eat or drink, that he may bring
Disgrace upon me; for there is a custom,
An old and foolish custom, that if a man
Be wronged, or think that he is wronged, and starve
Upon another's threshold till he die,
The Common People, for all time to come,
Will raise a heavy cry against that threshold,
Even though it be the King's.

W.B. Yeats (1904)

Ireland did not invent the hunger strike, while history records Mahatma Gandhi, as its chief exponent, with his seventeen hunger strikes against British colonial rule. In Ireland however, dramatic hunger strikes since the 1916 Easter Rising have made the world aware of the continuing struggle in Ireland and England for freedom and self-determination. Sadly, I believe, if
the current treatment by the British Tory establishment, of Marian Price and Martin Corey are anything to go by Bobby Sands and his comrades are not the last.

Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands

Caption: Joe McDonnell


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