The hunger of Samer Issawi– and Bobby Sands

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Writer/activist Miko Peled stood over the grave site of Irish Nationalist revolutionary hero and hunger-striker Bobby Sands at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast and read the finale of Samer Issawi’s ‘Hunger Speech’ to Israelis.

Peled: I’m going to read a few words by Samer Issawi, a Palestinian hero. A Palestinian hero hunger striker, and it sadly looks like he is going to be the next victim of the Israeli occupation…..

Do not listen to those generals and those dusty myths, for the defeated will not remain defeated, and the victor will not remain a victor. History isn’t only measured by battles, massacres and prisons, but by peace with the Other and the self.

This is being written and this is being said by a man who is willingly dying for freedom and unwilling to compromise his freedom and his independence. So let’s hope that he, by some miracle, survives and doesn’t have to join Bobby Sands and the others as another victim of this horrific horrific brutality.

bobby sands 15
Freedom, “Inspired by the genius of Banksy and the perpetual,

revolutionary words of Bobby Sands” by Jafar Alam

Issawi’s words about history being  measured by “peace with the Other and the self” remind me of Sands’s iconic words:  “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”

The stature of Sands has only grown since his death at 27 in 1981; for his martyrdom, and those of 9 other hunger strikers over the next seven months, (foolishly dubbed by Thatcher as “the IRA’s last card“) energized and impassioned Irish republicanism; recruits multiplied.

My heart warms to visit the Bobby Sands Trust and see a photo of Samer’s sister Shireen holding a poster of her brother accompanied by an article about Palestinian Hunger Strikers on the front page. And please check out the Sands Trust page, Laughter Of Our Children, and a 2010 post by Canadian blogger Jafar Alam where Sands famous words segue, both graphically and literally, into the companion struggle of our time.

‘“They will not criminalise us, rob us of our true identity, steal our individualism, depoliticise us, churn us out as systemised, institutionalised, decent law-abiding robots. We refuse to lie here in dishonor! We are not criminals, but Irishmen! This is the crime of which we stand accused. Never will they label our liberation struggle as criminal…Our revenge will be the laughter of our children” – Bobby Sands

‘We refuse to lie here in dishonor! We are not terrorists, but Palestinians. This is the crime of which we stand accused. Our crime remains that we were born Palestinian.’

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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