Site notification: Please read

Posted in marcella on 31 October 2014 by micheailin

I have several WordPress journals, but they are no longer working correctly for me. Posting and editing is now extremely difficult and/or impossible. Therefore, for BOBBY SANDS, I will only be posting at the alternate sites in the future. I will continue to moderate your comments here if I am able. Sorry for the inconvenience:

Please read this journal at the following locations:

http://marcella32.livejournal.com
http://marcella.dreamwidth.org
http://marcella32.blogspot.com

Thank you,
micheailin

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Sands on the River Road

Posted in marcella with tags , , , on 5 May 2014 by micheailin

**In memoriam to the 33 years which have passed since Bobby’s death, Mr Ron Lay-Sleeper has asked to post his poem which he wrote in honour of Bobby Sands during his hunger strike, and immediately after his death.

First voice
There was wet snow in the light of the headlamps
In the dark nights of February,
Freezing rain turning the road into a treacherous
Living beast, testing at every turn
The automatic clichés of driving.

Second voice
On such a night, illuminated by the inward burning
Fire of patriotism, he unwinds the cord,
Lets slip the thread,
Dares the minotaur in its lair.

First voice
Up here in the hills, the valleys are narrow,
The roads, thin black arrows shot through
Swamp and ledge, the creeks cold and dark
Where they run through the forest.

Second voice
He begins the juggernaught drive,
Takes Communion of salt and water—
No bread—and his flesh begins
To shrivel and waste.

First voice
The roads of the north follow the rivers
And their smaller tributaries to the height of land,
Cross the divide, follow other watercourses down:
Beaver pond, alder swamp, rivers running,
Rushing down toward Mother Ocean.

Second voice
Such are the choices we make—
Committing ourselves to a course of action,
Victims of our decisions like a river
Breaking down its banks.

First voice
Where the obdurate stupidity of power
Meets the stubborn abstinence of flesh,
What solace?

Second voice
Beyond a certain point
Of honor, hunger, sanity
He cannot, will not,
Alter the course.

First voice
There is the road and the river
And the land between.
The road is a compromise—it replaces
Natural difficulties with fabricated
Mechanical ones.
The life of the road differs
From the life of the river.
River life stays mostly to itself
But sometimes wanders
Onto the highway,
Is selected by the road,
Displayed in anatomical
Detail
Along the asphalt.

Second voice
As the capillaries die
The skin blackens
The ocular fluid dries up
And in his blindness
The vision grows.

First voice
The roots are interlaced. Life flows
Up and down
The river and the road.
Paths cross, intertwine.
What drives us—what force? What
Steps do we take in false assurance.
There is the slow and steady burgeoning
Of the heart’s attraction.
In ritual passage, eyes meet

Second voice
He cannot walk.

First voice
The locking of steps in the age-old dance

Second voice
He cannot see parents, wife.
They place him on a waterbed
To ease the pain.

First voice
A softly-phrased question—

Second voice
“Will you eat?”

First voice
A look, a smile.

Second voice
He cannot see.
The gums shrink
From bloody teeth.

First voice
Assured beauty of flesh,
Supple, brown and warm.

Second voice
They taped the flesh of his joints
So the bones
Would not break through.

First voice
Lock step, nose to hock,
Like cattle
Treading the hoof-worn path
To barn at dusk
Or dawn-wet meadow,

Second voice
Yoked to the bones
And thoughts of our forebears,
Unrelenting
Demands of our time,
We herd and pack
In endless factions:
Politics, religion, economics:

Third voice
“The man’s a martyr—
“The tapes and waterbed
“His nails and cross.”

Second voice
Rope Steel Plastic bombs
Molotov cocktails

Fourth voice
“Martyr? Terrorist! Murderer!

First voice
Do we not, like the river,
Or deer,
Follow old trails
Across the treacherous road,
Follow a natural arc,
A transcendent curve?
The new moon lies
With the old moon in its arms;
The rainbow follows the storm.

Second voice
There is a dark side of the moon—
A traitor on one side’s
A martyr to the other.

First voice
Too visible,
We yearn for anonymity
Until we become
Flickering ghosts of our own desire,

Second voice
All fat gone

First voice
Christ’s image burned on a robe,

Second voice
Muscles shrunken

First voice
Shadows etched on the paving stones

Second voice
Bones twisted

First voice
Of Hirsoshima.

Second voice
Voices of the night
Hissing
Adder-tongued:

3rd and 4th voices
“He’s dying!”

First voice
The trillium blossom smells
Like putrid meat,
At once
Beautiful
And repellant.
It attracts life only to die, to reseed itself.

Second voice
Torching the flames of kindred hungers,
The final taper wavers.
What specters walk
Before the lowering curtain
Of his dimming life?

Third voice
“Come, Bobby, you’ll be late for school!”

4th voice
All the dogs have rubber teeth
On the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Fifth voice
Gone from mind the faces of youth
Murdered on the highways.

Second voice
Gasoline alley, back where I belong.

First voice
The stars slip from the firmament,
Old constellations
Breaking up
In the steady flow of time.

Second voice
Street fighting

3rd voice
The Troubles

4th voice
He lost his mind and his body died.

Fifth voice
A black orchid tossed
On a smoldering peat fire.

Second voice
A shudder passed through Belfast,
Golgotha of the Emerald Isle,
Her prisons mortared
With martyrs’ blood.

3rd voice
In Dublin round
The Martello tower wreathes the ghost
Of Molly Bloom.

Second voice
In smoky London
Old Blake weeps in his child’s heart
“The marks of weakness, marks of woe.”

Fifth voice
What aureate soul leapt up,
What birds sang that morning
At the death of another Irish martyr?

First voice
Elephants died that their tusks might house
Saints’ bones; the whisker of a mouse
Limns the angels
Dancing on a pin.

Voices 2, 3, 4, 5
He died in the spring
On a day when shaky-legged colts
Hardened their bones
In the sun, wind, and clouds of May.

First voice
Passion born of love and anger—
Stepping off the edge of the highway
Plunging into underbrush along the river

Second voice
We find soft mud banks,

3rd voice
Willow, elm, fern and alder,

4th voice
Track of raccoon, song of warbler,

5th voice
A carpet of bloodroot, green palms clasped

First voice
In supplication about the flower

4th voice
Which bleeds when broken.

©Ron Lay-Sleeper
ronlaysleeper@yahoo.com

Bobby Sands – 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981

Posted in marcella with tags , on 4 May 2012 by micheailin

WEEPING WINDS

Oh! cold March winds your cruel laments
Are hard on prisoners’ hearts,
For you bring my mother’s pleading cries
From whom I have to part.
I hear her weeping lonely sobs
Her sorrows sweep me by,
And in the dark of prison cell
A tear has warmed my eye.

Oh! whistling winds why do you weep
When roaming free you are,
Oh! is it that your poor heart’s broke
And scattered off afar?
Or is it that you bear the cries
Of people born unfree,
Who like your way have no control
Or sovereign destiny?

Oh! lonely winds that walk the night
To haunt the sinner’s soul,
Pray pity me a wretched lad
Who never will grow old.
Pray pity those who lie in pain
The bondsman and the slave,
And whisper sweet the breath of God
Upon my humble grave.

Oh! cold March winds that pierce the dark
You cry in aged tones
For souls of folk you’ve brought to God
But still you bear the moans.
Oh! weeping wind this lonely night
My mother’s heart is sore
Oh! Lord of all breathe freedom’s breath
That she may weep no more.

By Bobby Sands

IRSP repeat hunger strike ‘substantial deal’ claims

Posted in Uncategorized on 18 April 2012 by micheailin

Londonderry Sentinel
18 April 2012

THE Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) have repeated claims that the Provisional IRA leadership prolonged the 1981 hunger strike to gain political capital.

A series of public meetings were held in north Belfast last week and amongst those on the panel was Strabane IRSP spokesman, Willie Gallagher and former public relations officer for the IRA in the Maze in 1981, Richard O’Rawe-who in recent writings has claimed the British Government offered a ‘deal’ which satisfied the majority of the hunger strikers five demands.

Bobby Sands’ son grew up without his father

The claims from the IRSP and Mr O’Rawe claim that the deal apparently offered by the British side would have saved the lives of five of the hunger strikers.

Willie Gallagher said the results of a seven year long IRSP investigation now conclusively reveals that a deal was on offer.

He said: “The seven year IRSP investigation into the revelations, first disclosed in 2005 in the book Blanketmen, has conclusively found that Ricky O’Rawe has been consistently telling the truth. There is now no doubt on the factual existence of a substantial deal offered by British Government negotiators that could have saved the lives of many of the hunger strikers and met most of the prisoners’ five demands. It is now a matter of fact that a substantial ‘deal’ from the British representatives did indeed go into the H-Blocks on the 5th July, 1981.

“The provisional IRA leadership in Long Kesh, during the 1981 hunger strike, accepted the offer as it met most of the H-Block prisoners’ five demands.”

But he added that the committee “known as ‘the Kitchen Cabinet’ rejected and overruled the jail leadership’s acceptance of the deal.”

“The INLA and IRSP leadership outside the jail were kept completely in the dark about the ‘Mountain Climber’ initiative, as were the INLA prisoners in the H-Blocks and the hunger strikers themselves,” he said.

At the end of the series of public meetings the IRSP restated their position that only a transparent and independent enquiry into the events surrounding the 1981 hunger strike and secret negotiations would satisfy the broad republican community.

Updates to this website concerning the 1981 archives

Posted in marcella with tags , , on 5 January 2012 by micheailin

As many of you know, the release of documents under the 30 year rule has occurred, and 1981 was the year covered. This means that many, many government documents pertaining to the hunger strike are included. I have attempted to post as many as I could find onto the three locations of SAOIRSE32 as current news.

Some of you may also know that the Blogsome location of SAOIRSE32 is going out of the blog hosting business, and I have had to transfer the files of 8 years’ worth of news over to the new WordPress location.

At this time, I do not feel able to re-post all the articles on the 1981 developments to the four locations of this journal concerning Bobby Sands. However, it is a very easy task to go to SAOIRSE32 and either use a tag search with such words as:

hunger strike
Bobby Sands
1981 archives
Richard O’Rawe
Danny Morrison
Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane
Soon
hunger strikers
Raymond McCreesh
Sinn Féin
Margaret Thatcher etc

…or you may simply use the search box on the new WordPress location to find what you are looking for. The old Google site search link will only return results for the old Blogsome site until it is finally deleted.

There are three locations for SAOIRSE32, but the WordPress location is the only one I use tags with. It also has the best built-in search box. Please try there first. If you have any problems or questions, please send me an email.

Thank you,
micheailin

Adams rejected chance of early end to hunger strike

Posted in marcella on 22 December 2011 by micheailin

Claims that the Sinn Fein president could have stopped the 1981 fast in July are vindicated by newly-released papers, says Carrie Twomey

Carrie Twomey
Belfast Telegraph
20 December 2011

The controversial claim that Gerry Adams and his committee controlling the 1981 hunger strike from outside the Maze prison refused a substantial offer from then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – an offer accepted by the prisoners – has been proven true.

The allegation is substantiated in the notes of Derry businessman Brendan Duddy. Duddy, the ‘Mountain Climber’, was the messenger between the British Government and IRA during the hunger strike.

Duddy previously confirmed he delivered an offer from Thatcher’s Government to Martin McGuinness. Along with Danny Morrison and Jim Gibney, McGuinness was a member of Adams’s clandestine hunger strike committee.

The content of that offer was the same as was revealed in FOI documents obtained by the Belfast Telegraph’s political editor, Liam Clarke. These documents show most of the five demands prisoners were hunger striking for would be met.

In his books Blanketmen and Afterlives, Richard O’Rawe, PRO of the IRA prisoners during the hunger strikes, wrote of the acceptance of that offer by himself and Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane (in charge of the hunger strike inside the prison).

This claim was vehemently denied by Morrison and Sinn Fein. O’Rawe faced vilification, threats and intimidation for revealing this information, as it meant six of the 10 hunger strikers need not have died had the offer been accepted.

Duddy’s notes of talks between Thatcher and Adams over the weekend of July 4-5, 1981 conclusively prove O’Rawe’s account was true.

After a conciliatory statement from the prisoners, Thatcher sent Duddy details of an offer with the potential to end the hunger strike.

Danny Morrison went into the prison to convey this offer to McFarlane, who discussed it with O’Rawe. McFarlane then sent word out that they would accept it.

Written in code on the morning of July 6, Duddy’s notes reflect this significant movement.

Adams and his committee were the ‘Shop Stewards’, the prisoners were the ‘Union Membership’ and the Government was ‘Management’.

The message Adams wanted conveyed to Thatcher was: “The S.S. fully accept the posal [sic] – as stated by the Union MemBship [sic]”. In other words, the prisoners had endorsed the proposal.

The rest of the message added conditions to the acceptance that gave the Adams committee, not the prisoners, a veto over the deal.

Crucially, the message added, if the British published the offer without Adams having prior sight, and agreeing to it, he would publicly ‘disapprove’ it.

In spite of the prisoners’ acceptance of the offer negotiations continued over the next two days, with Joe McDonnell close death.

The demands the prisoners were seeking via hunger strike had effectively been granted. Before implementing the agreed proposal, the British were waiting for word from Adams that the prisoners would end their hunger strike. Once that word was given, the proposal would be read to the prisoners by the NIO and released to the Press.

It was not to be. On July 7, the Adams’ committee sought to alter the ‘tone’ of the agreement, not the content. The substance had already been met. Adams and his team were concerned with presentation.

Negotiations continued throughout the night. At 4.50am on July 8, while Adams was in mid-discussion with the British, Joe McDonnell became the fifth hunger striker to die. Five more were to die before the hunger strike’s end in October 1981.

All the proposals made by Margaret Thatcher in early July were implemented immediately after the hunger strike ended.

Provo bosses let hunger-strikers die – they know who they are and so do I

Posted in marcella with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12 December 2011 by micheailin

Suzanne Breen
Sunday World
11 December 2011
**Via Newshound

An ex-Provo prisoner who watched his comrades die on hunger-strike has blasted the IRA leadership for their “needless deaths”.

Richard O’Rawe says key IRA leaders should “hang their heads in shame” for rejecting a secret British offer which could have saved six hunger-strikers’ lives in the notorious H-Blocks.

The West Belfast republican, who was the prisoners’ public relations officer, claims “six men with hearts like lions were let die horrific deaths for nothing other than getting Sinn Féin votes”.

Four hunger-strikers were already dead when British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, capitulated and made her dramatic offer in July 1981 effectively granting most of the prisoners’ demands.

O’Rawe, who bravely lifted the lid in 2001 on the secret British proposal to end the hunger-strike, was speaking after his account was proven true by documents just lodged in an Irish university.

He’s now urging republicans all over Ireland to urgently revise their understanding of what happened during the H-Block death fast that made headlines across the world.

“The evidence is there for all to see. It’s the biggest cover-up in the history of Irish republicanism,” he told the Sunday World.

The hunger-strike was run on the outside by a clandestine committee set up by the Army Council. Its members included the North’s best known Provos who were also in Sinn Féin.

“These men should have the guts to finally come clean and tell how they let six republicans, whose boots they weren’t fit to lace, needlessly die horrific deaths in a H-block hell-hole.

“Let them explain how they rejected an offer which meant Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Tom McElwee, Kieran Doherty and Mickey Devine would all have lived.”

O’Rawe spoke of the threats and intimidation he and his family had suffered since he exposed the leadership’s lies. “‘Richard O’Rawe H-Block traitor’ was written on the wall opposite my home. Well, it’s now as clear as daylight who betrayed the hunger-strikers.”

Papers donated to the National University of Ireland in Galway by Derry businessman, Brendan Duddy, show how the IRA prison leadership accepted a substantial British offer to end the death fast.

Known as the ‘Mountain Climber’, Duddy was the messenger between the British and the IRA. His notes show – as O’Rawe claimed in his best-selling book Blanketmen – that the British made an offer on 5 July 1981 effectively granting the prisoners’ five demands except free association.

Joe McDonnell, the fifth hunger-striker, was hovering on the brink of death so urgent action was required. Duddy relayed the offer to Martin McGuinness who told Gerry Adams. Danny Morrison was then despatched to the H-Blocks to brief Bik McFarlane, the IRA commander in the jail.

When he returned to his cell, McFarlane told O’Rawe the good news. “We were both delighted. A few hours free movement every day wasn’t worth one more life,” says O’Rawe.

“The British were compromising on prison uniforms, work, visits, letters and segregation. Bik wrote to Gerry Adams, accepting the offer.”

However, the Army Council committee then sent word into the jail that the offer wasn’t enough. On 7 July, the IRA told the British that while the substance of the proposal was acceptable, the “tone” needed changing.

Joe McDonnell died the next day. “This fine republican died because an Army Council clique didn’t like the ‘tone’ of a document,” says O’Rawe. “Five other great men, the bravest of the brave, followed him. The hunger-strikers were Spartacuses.

“They gave everything they had to the republican movement. They believed to their death in a 32 county socialist republic. This Army Council committee between them didn’t have even an ounce of one hunger-striker’s courage. They were a bunch of immoral, unscrupulous b*****ds.”

It was later revealed that the Army Council committee never briefed the entire Army Council itself on the details of the offer.

The hunger-strike had become “a cynical PR exercise to gain votes”, O’Rawe claims. It had to continue at least until Owen Carron won the Fermanagh and South Tyrone Westminister by-election in August, holding Bobby Sands’ seat.

The official Provo line has always been that a callous, uncompromising British government let 10 men die. “That lie’s now exposed,” says O’Rawe. “The hunger-strikers broke Margaret Thatcher. She blinked first. She gave in but the men weren’t told

The ex-IRA man says he faced a campaign of vilification since he began exposing the truth about the hunger-strike: “I was told I could be shot. My children were harassed. ‘Your da’s a liar,’ people shouted at them.

“I was ostracised. Guys I’d operated with in the IRA, some of my best friends, snubbed me as the leadership spread their lies.”

O’Rawe (57) lives just across the road from Milltown Cemetery on the Falls where three hunger-strikers are buried.

He often visits the graves of Bobby Sands, Joe McDonnell, and Kieran Doherty: “It’s heart-breaking but I don’t need to go there to remember them because they never leave my mind.” On the 30th anniversary of the 10 deaths, he still breaks down in tears thinking of his comrades.

December 12, 2011
________________

This article appeared in the December 11, 2011 edition of the Sunday World.