Non mi fermerò fino a che l’Irlanda non diventerà una, sovrana, indipendente, repubblica socialista

Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands

Ero soltanto un ragazzo della working class proveniente da un ghetto nazionalista, ma è la repressione che crea lo spirito rivoluzionario della libertà. Io non mi fermerò fino a quando non realizzerò la liberazione del mio paese, fino a che l’Irlanda non diventerà una, sovrana, indipendente, repubblica socialista”

Robert Gerard Sands, più noto come Bobby Sands nacque a Rathcoole, in Irlanda del Nord il 9 Marzo 1954, crebbe nel quartiere di Abbots Cross, a Belfast.

Nonostante non sia stato mai chiaro se i Sands fossero cattolici, furono costretti a trasferirsi diverse volte a causa delle costanti intimidazioni subite dai Lealisti protestanti.

Nel 1972 all’ apice dei tumulti, Bobby aderì al PIRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army), ma nello stesso anno venne arrestato e rimase in carcere senza processo fino al 1976.

Al suo rilascio fece ritorno in famiglia, a Twinbrook nella parte ovest di Belfast, dove divenne un’attivista della comunità.

Dopo un anno fu di nuovo arrestato. Anche se le accuse più gravi a suo carico vennero lasciate cadere, fu processato per possesso di armi da fuoco (lui con altre quattro persone erano in una autovettura nella quale venne rinvenuta una pistola) nel settembre 1977 e condannato a 14 anni di carcere.

Sands scontò la pena in uno dei bracci della prigione di Long Kesh, noto come H-Blocks.

In prigione Sands divenne uno scrittore di giornalismo e poesia, gli articoli vennero pubblicati dal giornale repubblicano An Phoblacht.

Alla fine del 1980 Sands venne scelto come ufficiale comandante dei prigionieri dell’IRA a Long Kesh e divenne anche un fervente cattolico.

Nel frattempo i prigionieri dell’IRA organizzavano una serie di proteste per cercare di ottenere lo status di prigionieri politici e non essere soggetti alle normali regole carcerarie.

La prima protesta fu la cosiddetta “protesta del lenzuoli” nel 1976, quando i prigionieri si rifiutarono di indossare le uniformi e gli fu permesso di usare solo le lenzuola.

Nel 1978 iniziò la “dirty protest”, la protesta dello sporco, dove i prigionieri spalmavano i loro escrementi sui muri delle celle, poichè venivano duramente picchiati dai secondini quando lasciavano le celle per andare al bagno.

C’era stato già un primo sciopero della fame nell’autunno 1980. Terminò quando il governo britannico sembrò accettare le richieste dei prigionieri. Appena lo sciopero della fame finì ritornò alla linea dura tenuta in precedenza.

Il secondo sciopero della fame iniziò quando Bobby Sands il primo marzo del 1981 rifiutò il cibo.

Sands decise che gli altri prigionieri si sarebbero dovuti unire a lui ad intervalli regolari, allo scopo di aumentare l’impatto sull’opinione pubblica, con i prigionieri che peggioravano costantemente e morivano nell’arco di molti mesi.

Ma la confusione nata con lo sciopero precedente, rese difficile galvanizzare l’attenzione dall’esterno.

L’opportunità giunse con la morte de parlamentare nazionalista per Fermanagh/Tyrone Sud Frank Maguire.

Bobby Sands fu candidato per le elezioni straordinarie e vinse il seggio il 9 aprile 1981 con 30.492 voti, contro i 29.046 del candidato dell’Partito Unionista dell’Ulster, Harry West.

Poco dopo il governo britannico cambiò la legge, introducendo il Representation of the People Act. In sostanza si proibiva ai prigionieri di partecipare alle elezioni e richiedeva un periodo di cinque anni dal termine pena, prima che un ex-detenuto potesse candidarsi.

Tre settimane dopo, Bobby morì d’inedia nell’ospedale della prigione dopo sessantasei giorni di sciopero della fame.

E’ il cinque maggio 1981.

Morì su un materasso ad acqua, unico supporto morbido abbastanza da sostenere le sue ossa sporgenti.

L’annuncio della sua morte diede il via a diversi giorni di rivolta nelle zone nazionaliste dell’Irlanda del Nord. Oltre centomila persone si schierarono lungo il percorso del suo funerale.

Altri nove uomini dell’IRA e dell’INLA che morirono dopo Bobby Sands.

Gran parte dei repubblicani irlandesi e dei simpatizzanti dell’IRA videro Bobby Sands e gli altri nove come a dei martiri che resistettero all’intransigenza del governo britannico. Molti nazionalisti irlandesi che disapprovavano l’IRA, furono scandalizzati dalla posizione del governo britannico.

La copertura mediatica che circondò la morte di Bobby produsse un nuovo flusso di attività dell’IRA. Molte persone si sentirono spinte ad aiutare a spezzare la connessione britannica aiutando l’IRA, non vedendo altre opzioni dato l’atteggiamento intransigente dei politici britannici nei confronti dell’Irlanda.

I numerosi successi elettorali conseguiti durante lo sciopero spinsero il movimento repubblicano a muoversi verso la politica, e indirettamente spianarono la strada all’Accordo del Venerdì Santo e al successo del Sinn Féin molti anni dopo.

Bobby Sands scrisse un libro in cui narra l’inferno del carcere e la tragedia dell’Irlanda in lotta intitolato “Un giorno della mia vita”.

Estremamente significativa e’ la frase che pronuncio’ riferendosi agli anni della sua adolescenza: “Ero soltanto un ragazzo della working class proveniente da un ghetto nazionalista, ma è la repressione che crea lo spirito rivoluzionario della libertà. Io non mi fermerò fino a quando non realizzerò la liberazione del mio paese, fino a che l’Irlanda non diventerà una, sovrana, indipendente, repubblica socialista

I DIECI PRIGIONIERI MORTI NELLO SCIOPERO DELLA FAME DEL 1981

BOBBY SANDS
morto il 5 maggio 1981 dopo 66 giorni
FRANCIS HUGHES
morto il 5 maggio 1981 dopo 66 giorni
RAY MC CREESH
morto il 21 maggio 1981 dopo 61 giorni
PATSY O’HARA (INLA)
morto il 21 maggio 1981 dopo 61 giorni
JOE MC DONNELL
morto l’8 luglio 1981 dopo 61 giorni
MARTIN HURSON
morto il 13 luglio 1981 dopo 46 giorni
KEVIN LYNCH (INLA)
morto l’1 agosto 1981 dopo 71 giorni
KIERAN DOHERTY
morto il 2 agosto 1981 dopo 73 giorni
THOMAS MC ELWEE
morto l’8 agosto 1981 dopo 62 giorni
MICKY DEVINE (INLA)
morto il 20 agosto 1981 dopo 60 giorni

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