A Matter of Life and Death

It was on 5 May 1981, that Member of Parliament and Irish political prisoner Bobby Sands died while conducting a 66 day hunger-strike. He was 27 years old.

While serving a sentence in the notorious H-Block prison, Sands won a special election to fill a vacancy in Parliament. Sands became the youngest MP at the time. Sands would die without ever having claimed his seat.

There was wide condemnation of the British government from around the world following the event.

In the United States, the New Jersey General Assembly, passed a resolution honoring Sands’ “courage and commitment.”

In New York City, the International Longshoreman’s Union conducted a 24 hour boycott of British ships.

In the USSR, the newspaper, ‘Pravda’ described the event as “another tragic page in the grim chronicle of oppression, discrimination, terror, and violence” in Ireland.

In India, the Hindustan Times newspaper said “Margaret Thatcher had allowed a fellow Member of Parliament to die of starvation, an incident which had never before occurred “in a civilized country.”

In Iran, the government renamed Winston Churchill Boulevard, the location of the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Tehran, to Bobby Sands Street, prompting the embassy to brick up the original entrance and move their door to Ferdowsi Avenue to avoid using Bobby Sands Street on their letterhead.

The band, ‘The Grateful Dead’ played the Nassau Coliseum the following night after Sands died and guitarist Bob Weir dedicated the song “He’s Gone” to Sands.

In 2008 the film, ‘HUNGER’, in which actor Michael Fassbender portrays Sands, was released. The trailer for the film is below….