Bobby Sands – The Courage to Stay the Course

May 5, 1981 – Bobby Sands died.  He was born  March 9, 1954 and was a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (Provos) fighting for the unification of British Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.  For hundreds of years the British had controlled Ireland and used it as the laboratory to develop what would eventually be called British Imperialist Colonialism taking control of other  nations and dispersing its resources to the British.  For generation they had advocated the Plantation of Ulster where Protestant Scottish settlers were given land that had belonged to the indigenous Irish Catholics. After hundreds of years of bitter struggle, the island was partitioned with the South, largely Catholic, independent, while the North (70% Protestant and 30% Catholic) remaining part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.  In 1968 the Catholic minority began to demonstrate for civil rights and the IRA was reborn.  In 1972, 18-year-old Sands joined the IRA.  In 1977 he was sentenced to 14 years for possession of firearms.  While in prison, he began writing nonfiction and poetry and was involved in several protests when the British government began treating IRA prisoners are common criminals — while they considered themselves political prisoners of an occupying army.  These protests would eventually lead to hunger strikes, the last starting on March 1, 1981.  Bobby Sands was the first of ten men who literally starved themselves to death because of a deep conviction in a free and united Ireland. While on hunger strike, Sands was elected to the British Parliament by his supporters.  He died after 66 days, and his death attracted worldwide attention. Sadly, The Troubles in Northern Ireland continue, although today the violence and extremism has been tempered.

“I am standing on the threshold of another trembling world.

May God have mercy on my soul.”

~ Bobby Sands, April 1, 1981

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Filed under Civil Rights, International, Irish Nationalsim

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