Bobby Sands: Writings from Prison
Bobby Sands was twenty-seven years old and sixty-six days on hunger strike when he died in the H Blocks of Long Kesh in Northern Ireland, on 5 May 1981. The young IRA Volunteer, who had spent the last nine years of his short life in prison, was world-famous by the time of his death, having been elected to the British parliament and having withstood political and moral pressures to abandon his fast. The hunger strike was aimed at rebutting the British government's attempts to criminalize the struggle for Irish freedom by changing the status of Sands and his fellow cellmates from political to criminal status. While behind bars, Sands secretly wrote on toilet paper and cigarette papers with the refill of a cheap pen that he kept hidden inside his body. These writings were then smuggled out of prison. With dry humor, they chart, in prose and poetry, a man's attempt to preserve his identity against freezing cold, unimaginable filth, appalling beatings and numbing boredom. He conjures up vividly the enclosed hell of Long Kesh, the harassment, and the humiliatingly invasive searches. Bobby Sands and his comrades were gripped by an iron system that held them at torture-point and yet their courage never faltered.
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