2 August 2007 –
Royal Army – den brittiske hær forlader Irland
EU- og Nato-landet Storbritanniens 38-årige militære besættelse på den irske ø afsluttedes ved midnat. Det betegnes som en milestolpe i fredsprocessen. Noget stort er sket i Nordirland som den irske provins Ulster kaldes af briterne. Operation “banér”, som var kodenavnet for de britiske styrkers aktiviter på Irland ,er den længste sammenhængende britiske militær-operation nogensinde. Konflikten har officielt krævet flere end tre tusind og seks hundrede menneskeliv ( 3.600).
Brittiske soldater blev sendt til de nordvestlige dele af Irland i 1969 for at bekæmpe den irske nationale selvstændighedsbevægelse. – – – – – –
Officielt hed det sig at de britiske styrker skulle dæmpe de “voldsomme religiøse modsætninger mellem katoliker, som ville tilhøre Irland, og royalistiske protestanter, som ville forblive under britisk overherredømme.
Kronologi over begivenhederne i Ulster
1801: Efter det irske oprør mod britisk overherredømme i 1798 tvinger tvinger de britiske kolonisatorer hele Irland ind under storbritisk kolonialt styre – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland – hvor 85 % af befolkningen på Irland er udelukket fra politisk indflydelse
1905: Sinn Féin stiftes af irske patrioter og udvikler sig til et parti med krav på hele Irlands selvstændighed.
1920-22: Den grønne ø deles, sådan at den sydlige del bliver den Irske Fristat mens den nordlige provins Ulster eller Nordirland styres fra London.
1968-69: Irsk-katolske protester mod diskriminering; Brittiske væbnede styrker sættes ind for at kontrollere protesterne.
1970-71: Sinn Féins væbnede gren Irish Republican Army IRA beslutter at indlede den væbnede kamp for at befri hele Éire _ Irland.
1972: Bloody Sunday , den blodige søndag i Londonderry på Irland. Brittiske soldater skyder 14 ubevæbnede demonstranter ihjel.
1980: SULTESTREJKE af de følgende republikanske fanger
Leo Green (Volunteer, IRA -53 days )
Mary Doyle ( Volunteer, IRA/18 days)
Mairead Farrell (Volunteer, IRA /18 days
Brendan Hughes (IRA 53 days)
Raymond McCartney (Volunteer, IRA 53 days)
Tom McFeely (Volunteer, IRA/ 53 days)
Sean McKenna (Volunteer, IRA/53 days
Tommy McKearney (Volunteer, IRA /53 days
John Nixon (Volunteer, INLA/ 53 days
Mairead Nugent ( Volunteer, IRA/18 days)
1981: Omfattende sultestrejke i det britiske H-block-fængsel i protest mod kriminaliseringen af de irske fanger i Nordirland. Den britiske besættelsesmagt havde i 1976 berøvet de irske fanger deres politiske status (“Special Category Status”).
Med andre ord bliver de irske politiske fanger som kæmper for hele Irlands selvstændighed fra 1976 betragtet som “kriminelle” der skal følge samme regler som kriminelle fanger, f.eks at bære fangedragt. Men de irske fanger nægter at blive betragtet og behandlet som “kriminelle” og i Long Kesh ( kendt verden over som Maze-fængslet) indleder de irske fanger under vinteren 1981 den såkaldte “Blanket” og “Dirty og No Wash”-protest: De irske republikanske fanger nægter at blive opfattet som “kriminelle” og afviser derfor at iklæde sig den fangedragt på som de probritiske fængselsmyndigheder uddeler til kriminelle fanger. I stedet for deres egne civile klæder får fangerne uddelt et tæppe( blanket) som de forsøger at holde varmen med, ligesom de nægter at vaske sig.
Bobby Sands på vægmaleri i Belfast.
Den første marts 1981 – på femårsdagen for den britiske regerings ophævelse af de republikanske fangers politiske status giver Belfast-fangen Roibeard Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh, bedre kendt som Bobby Sands , signalet til den aktion som skal få briterne på knæ.
Faktisk var visse reformistisk-orienterede ledere af IRA/Sinn Fein afvisende overfor planen om en politisk sultestrejke som lederen af de republikanske fanger i Long Kesh; Bobby Sands foreslår efter fem års kampe og protester mod
kriminaliseringen af de irske politiske fanger. Dels troede de ikke på at sultestrejken ville slå igennem politisk , desuden mente de at en sultestrejke vil trække for megen opmærksom væk fra de parlamentariske bestræbelser.
Det fremgår også af artiklen fra Irish Echo
Sands var den første fange som nægtede at tage føde til sig. Flere fanger følger ham og sultestrejken bliver efterhånden kendt verden over. Dn udløser omfattende solidaritetsdemonstrationer og optøjer i de irske befriede områder i Nord-Irland.
Sultestrejken giver anledning til en international kampagne i solidaritet med fangerne og deres sag. Solidariteten med de irske frihedskæmpere breder sig ud over hele jordkloden. Selv paven i Rom– den polsk fødte Karol Wojtyła – udtaler sig om sultestrejken og beder det reaktionære Thatcher-regime i London om at forhandle. Bobby Sands bliver – under sultestrejken – opstillet som Anti H-Block-kandidat til det britiske parlamentsvalg. Sands bliver valgt ind i House of Commons; det britiske parlament i London den 9. april med 30 492 stemmer mod 29 046 til den pro-britiske kandidat Harry West. Tre uger senere døde Sands i fængselssygehuset efter 66 dages heroisk sultestrejke.
Nyheden om bobby Sands bortgang utløste optøjer som varede i flere dage, og mere end 100 000 mennesker deltog i hans gravfærd. I løbet av sommeren døde yderligere ni sultestrejkende.
Vægmaleri i solidaritet med de irske fangers kamp mod kriminaliseringen , for politisk status –
IRSKE MARTYRER under sultestrejken 1981 for fangernes politisk status :
* Navn * * * Hjemby Dødsdag Sultestreikens længde /
* Bobby Sands * medlem af PIRA – – – Belfast (Twinbrook) 5. mai 66 dage __
* Francis Hughes * medlem af PIRA – Bellaghy 12. mai 59 dage
* Raymond McCreesh * medlem af PIRA Camlough 21. mai 61 dage
* Patsy O’Hara * medlem af INLA Derry 21. mai 61 dage
* Joe McDonnel *medlem af PIRA Belfast (Lenadoon) 8. juli 61 dage
* Martin Hurson * medlem af PIRA Cappagh 13. juli 46 dage
* Kevin Lynch * medlem af INLA Dungiven 1. august 71 dage
* Kieran Doherty * medlem af PIRA Belfast (Andersontown) 2. august 73 dage
* Thomas McElwee *medlem af PIRA Bellaghy 8. august 62 dage
* Michael Devine * medlem af INLA Derry 20. august 60 dage
*PIRA= Provisoriske Irish Republican Army *
*INLA= Irish National Liberation Army *
GLEM IKKE SULTESTREJKEN : 25 året for sultestrejken i det neokolonialistiske H-block-fængsel
1993: 21 år efter indledes fredsprocessen da Sinn Féin får plads ved forhandlingsbordet. 1998: Langfredagsoverenskomsten med magtdeling mellem “irske katoliker” og “pro-britiske protestanter”.1999: Nordirland får selvstyre, men provinsregeringen bliver kortlivet.2002: London overtager det direkte styre over de “nordirske provinser”2006: Internationell kommission bekræfter at IRA har afviklet sine militære strukturer og ikke længere udgør “nogen trussel”.2007: Ian Paisleys pro-britiske parti DUP og irske Sinn Féin leder en regering som tiltræder den 8 maj.2007: Den 1 august er den brittiske hærs opgaver i Irland formelt afsluttet. Ordningen i “provinsen” er herefter politiets ansvar. Storbritannien har dog stadig en “fredstids-Garnison” på fem tusind soldater som “trænes” for at hjælpe den USA-ledte besættelsesmagts terror og undertrykkelse af folket i Afghanistan. ° °
Kvinderne og den irske befrielseskamp
Læs videre om INLA-martyren Patrik O´Hara´s gravfærd: Massive Tribute to Patsy O’Hara ; June 1981
og The Irish Republican Socialist Movemenmt
De Fem Krav fra de Irske Republican Fanger
The Blanket Protest, the Dirty and No-Wash Protest, and the Hunger Strikes all were struggles by Irish Republican prisoners to regain the political status that they had enjoyed prior to 1976, when the British Government decided arbitrarily to end what was known as ‘Special Category Status’ and implement a policy of ‘Criminalisation’.
In 1976 all new prisoners were introduced to a newly constructed prison — the infamous ‘H-Blocks’, where all previous privileges of political status were denied.
After 1976 the prisoners demanded that certain rights be restored to them:
When the British refused to grant these rights, the prisoners escalated the protests to the point where 10 men died rather than give in to the British system of criminalisation. /Kilder: Irish Times,
Sultestrejken 1981 : A View North Anniversaries recall the rise of Sinn Fein
Af Jack Holland
This week carries two important anniversaries in the North’s calendar of the conflict, and both fall on the same day: March 1. Twenty-five years ago, on that day, the British government formally abolished special category status for prisoners and began its long and ultimately fruitless attempt to force imprisoned republicans to wear a prison uniform, do prison work, and conform to the other exigencies that in most jails are a sign of criminality.
Twenty years ago on March 1, having failed to persuade the authorities through various forms of protest that their efforts to “criminalize” republicans would not succeed, the IRA and INLA prisoners’ leadership in the Maze Prison launched a hunger strike that would go on for almost seven months and change the course of the North’s conflict forever.
Conventionally, the birth of the Provisional republican movement is dated to late 1969 and early 1970. But in a real sense, the events that began on March 1, 1976, and led to the hunger strike five years later, saw a rebirth of the Provisionals. In many ways, the movement as it exists today is more of a descendant of 1981 than of 1969.
“Our beginnings never know our ends,” T.S. Eliot wrote. When Bobby Sands presented the IRA leadership with the prospect of a hunger strike, it was not welcomed.
The belief was that it would not work. But there was another objection, ironic in the view of what was to happen.
According to Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams: “It must also be said that, in terms of the political priorities of the movement, we did not want the hunger strike. We were just beginning our attempts to remedy the political underdevelopment of the movement, trying to develop the organization, engaging in a gradual build-up of new forms of struggle and, in particular, we were working out our strategy in relation to elections. We were well aware that a hunger strike such as was proposed would demand exclusive attention, would, in effect, hijack the struggle, and this conflicted with our sense of the political priorities of the moment.” (From “A Free Ireland: Towards a Lasting Peace.”)
Since 1977, Gerry Adams and others had been striving to restructure the Provisionals and beef up the role played by its political wing, Sinn Fein. Since 1970, Provisional Sinn Fein had existed as a poor cousin to the Provisional IRA, a weak, largely ignored propaganda unit. No one conceived of it as a viable political party, probably not even Adams. In the secret plans that outlined the proposed changes (uncovered in 1977), Sinn Fein is seen as an extension of the IRA, a way of “increasing support for the [IRA] cell.”
This attitude prevailed through the late 1970s and the different stages of the prison protests. Though support for the prisoners was stirring on the streets, the Provisionals’ leadership resisted trying to translate this into political capital via elections. When Bernadette Devlin McAliskey ran for the European parliament in 1979, she made the prisoners’ plight her single issue. But she was opposed by the Provisionals, who advocated a boycott. Even the fact that she won over 30,000 first-preference votes did not convince the Provisionals to move away from their hostility to constitutional forms of struggle. By 1981, most of them were still opposed to fighting elections.
There is another irony in that it was Daithi O Conaill, the republican traditionalist, who argued in favor of political intervention in April 1981 as Sands, the leading hunger striker, entered his second month of fasting. Local Provisionals were opposed, and Adams, it is reported, remained non-committal. But O Conaill carried the day.
In the end, the success of Sinn Fein as a political party led to the demise of many of the Provisionals’ founding members, O Conaill included, who left the movement in disgust in 1986 because it had decided to recognize the Dail. By this stage, the movement’s resources were shifting away from the IRA to the political party, so much so that one prominent Belfast leader, a close ally of Adams, tried to outflank the leadership when he became concerned that IRA would be run down. He ended up being threatened and kicked out of the movement completely. He has since remained silent.
This was hardly the legacy that the hunger strikers had envisioned. In so far as they had a vision at all, it was expressed in the Romantic nationalism of Sands, a far cry from the political pragmatism that characterizes the movement today. The propaganda battle being waged now is over who has the right to claim that legacy. Dissident republicans claim that the Provisionals have betrayed the hunger strikers’ struggle through compromise with constitutional politics. Several of the hunger strikers’ families have distanced themselves from Sinn Fein. Brendan Hughes, who led the first hunger strike (October through December 1980) and became an important go-between during the course of the second hunger strike, has been bitter in his criticism of the Adams leadership and the new-look Sinn Fein. As in all ideological battles, he who wants to control the present has to control the past.
This battle may well become acute in the upcoming months, as Sinn Fein faces into a British general election with the peace process more than likely stalled. The goodies that are most important to the party, like policing reform and the cross-border bodies, have either not been delivered or, having been delivered, have not been allowed to work to Sinn Fein’s benefit.
In what could be an unfortunate coincidence, the election is expected to fall on May 3, just two days before the 20th anniversary of Bobby Sands’ death. In West Belfast, Marion Price, herself a former hunger striker, is threatening to run against Gerry Adams, as is a prisoner linked to the Continuity IRA. Will Bernadette Sands-McKevitt, sister of the dead hunger striker and spokesperson for dissident republicans, campaign on Price’s behalf in the constituency? And what effect would she have if she did?
Perhaps anticipating such attacks, the Provisionals have gone back to basics, as evidenced by IRA leader Brian Keenan‘s speech in south Armagh two weeks ago. He said:
“The revolution can never be over until we have our country, until we have British imperialism where it belongs, in the dust bin of history.”
When mainstream republicans start attacking British imperialism again, it can only mean one thing: the next election has well and truly begun.
Artiklen blev skrevet i 2001 -til 20 års dagen for den heroiske sultestrejke og bragt i The Irish Echo i udgaven for 7.-13. marts 2001 (alle fremhævninger tilføjet af red.)
FAKTA og BAGGRUND om de irske fangeoprør sultestrejker 1976-81
I Maj 1972, a hunger strike commenced in Belfast Prison, which IRA prisoners ended 35 days later when British Direct-Ruler William Whitelaw gave in and granted ’special category status’, that is political status to political prisoners. From then, until 1976, many thousands of Irish men and women served their prison sentences under this special category regime in the cages of Long Kesh, and in A-Wing of Armagh women’s prison.. Between the years 1971 and 1975 thousands of additional prisoners, interned without trial, had a similar status in Armagh, Magilligan, Belfast Prison, the prison-ship Maidstone, and Long Kesh.
BLANKET PROTEST BEGINS
KARDINAL O FIAICH BESØGER H-BLOCKS
FIRST HUNGER STRIKE BEGINS
HUMPHREY ATKINS RENEGES
Britiske BBC tolker sultestrejken i 1981 på denne måde :
IRA Fangerne, who had lost special status, were determined to win five rights: to wear their own clothes, to refrain from prison work, freedom to associate and to organise their own leisure activities and to have lost remission restored.
DEn første sultestrejkebegan on 27 October, 1980. Although the IRA leadership opposed the strike, they could not ignore the prisoners’ wishes. At the time, there were more members of the IRA locked up in the Maze prison than active members outside.
It ended in failure. On the 53rd day of the strike, prisoner leader Brendan Hughes called it off believing a government courier was en route with a letter meeting prisoners demands. It did not.
DEn anden strejke var mere strategisk. The new prisoner leader, Bobby Sands, decided at strejken skulle gennemføres efter et “rullende” skema, with a new prisoner joining the fast each week. That, he believed, would lead to a death a week and put increasing pressure on the government to meet prisoner demands.
Bobby Sands refused food on 1 March, 1981. But the hunger strike really kicked into action four days later when the then MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Frank McGuire, died. Sinn Fein nominated Sands for the seat and the election drew world-wide attention to the prisoners’ protest. In a tense battle between Sands (standing as the Anti H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner candidate) and the UUP’s Harry West, Sands won with 51.2% of the vote – a majority of 1,446.
Bobby Sands lapsed into a coma on 3 May. He died one hour after midnight on the 66th day of his strike. At least 70,000 people attended Bobby Sands’ Belfast funeral and protests erupted across nationalist areas of Northern Ireland. The immediate gain for the IRA was a sudden rise in membership.
The British government appeared to be digging in its heels and the families of the strikers began to lose faith that concessions could be won. On 31 July, the Quinn family took their son off his fast. Within a month several others were given medical attention. The last prisoner died on 20 August.
The strike came to an end on 3 October, 217 days after it had begun. Northern Ireland Secretary James Prior announced that prisoners could wear their own clothes and that remission lost would be restored. No formal recognition was ever made of their right to political status, though many have argued that it had been de facto granted through the concessions and others that followed.
Although all the demands were not met and 10 men had died, many republicans regarded the hunger strike, in political terms, as a success.
It had attracted massive international and domestic political attention to the prisoners’ demand and led to a direct political gain. Over the next two years, Sinn Fein saw its share of the vote rise as the new twin strategy of using both the “Armalite and the ballot box” emerged.