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Posts Tagged ‘Bobby Sands’

The headline on Friday’s evening news (22nd June 2012) was that Queen Elizabeth II and Martin McGuinness would be meeting next week and, possibly, shaking hands.

For those of you who don’t know, Martin McGuinness was a leader of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (better known as the IRA), an organisation who waged a campaign against the British Government for many decades, in an attempt to persuade (force?) Britain to withdraw from Northern Ireland.

Martin McGuinness is now deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, but it is very significant that the Head of State of Great Britain, the country that Irish Republicans consider to be an occupying force in Northern Ireland, should be meeting a former leader of the IRA, a person whom many consider to be a former terrorist.

Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland

In addition, the IRA killed Lord Mountbatten, Prince Philip’s (the Queen’s husband) uncle in a bomb attack in 1979. So this meeting is significant at both a State and personal level. In 1998 the IRA agreed to put down its arms and sign up to the Good Friday Peace Agreement. Since then, former members of the IRA have committed to using the democratic political process to achieve their aims, rather than the armed methods of the past.

By coincidence, about a week ago I came across a 1982 record amongst my over 300 albums called “Nos du nos da” by Meic Stevens. On this record is a song “Bobby Sands”, about the IRA prisoner who, in 1981, starved himself to death in protest at the way he felt “political prisoners” were being treated by the British Government. It was a pretty controversial song when it was released…..

The lyrics of the song are:

Mae ‘na filoedd yn dy gefnogi chdi
Tithe yn y carchar.
Clyw sgrech Llywodraeth, ysbeiliwr ffôl.
Thyg, gwatwar.

Ond beth bynnag maen nhw’n dweud yn dy erbyn di.
Dioddefaint ac angau dewistaist ti.
I gael heddwch yn Iwerddon a chael fod yn rhydd.
Bobby Sands.

Darllenais am dy dristwch yn y “Western Mail”
Mewn erthygl golygyddol.
Bu farw Sands yn y Long Kesh jail.
Derbyniwch y ffaith fel rhybudd.
Yn ei farn nes ti farw dros ffyrnigrwydd gwyllt.
Terfysg, dychryn, y bom a’r dryll.
Lladrata a myrdro oedd dy ddull.
Bobby Sands.

Nid merthyr yw Sands medde llais y Sais,
Ond gwystl mewn dwylo gwydlon.
Esgus gwarthus i gael myrdro mwy.
Mae Sands yn ddigon fodlon
I farw dros y terfysg hwn.
Lladrata, myrdro, y bom a’r gwn.
Ond mi eith ei enw i lawr mi wn
Gyda Phadrig, Pearce a Connelly.

Ond beth bynnag maen nhw’n dweud yn dy erbyn di.
Dioddefaint ac angau dewistaist ti.
I gael heddwch yn Iwerddon a chael fod yn rhydd.
Bobby Sands.

Mae ‘na filoedd yn dy gefnogi chdi
Tithe yn y carchar.
Clyw sgrech Llywodraeth, ysbeiliwr ffôl.
Thyg, gwatwar.

Ond beth bynnag maen nhw’n dweud yn dy erbyn di.
Dioddefaint ac angau dewistaist ti.
I gael heddwch yn Iwerddon a chael fod yn rhydd.
Bobby Sands.
Ie, Bobby Sands.
Bobby Sands.
Ie, Bobby Sands.

Which translates (roughly) as

There are thousands who support you.
And you are in prison.
Hear the screech of Government, stupid spoiler.
Thug, mocker.

But whatever they say against you,
Suffering and death is what you chose.
To have peace in Ireland, and to be free.
Bobby Sands.

I read about your sadness in the “Western Mail”,
In an editorial article.
Sands died in the Long Kesh jail.
Take the fact as a warning.
In their opinion you died for crazy anger.
Violence, scaring, the bomb and the gun.
Stealing and murdering were your means.
Bobby Sands.

Sands is not a martyr, says the voice of the English
But a hostage in bloody hands.
An awful excuse to murder more.
Sands is content enough
To die for this violence,
Stealing, murdering, the bomb and the gun.
But his name will go down I know
With Patrick, Pearce and Connelly.

But whatever they say against you,
Suffering and death is what you chose.
To have peace in Ireland, and to be free.
Bobby Sands.

There are thousands who support you.
And you are in prison.
Hear the screech of Government, stupid spoiler.
Thug, mocker.

But whatever they say against you,
Suffering and death is what you chose.
To have peace in Ireland, and to be free.
Bobby Sands.
Yeah, Bobby Sands.
Bobby Sands.
Yeah, Bobby Sands.

Whether Martin McGuinness was a murderer I will leave for you to decide, as it is a matter of opinion. Whether people like Bobby Sands and other members of the IRA were terrorists or freedom fighters rather depends on your point of view. What is less contentious is that, since the Good Friday Peace Accord, life for most people in Northern Ireland is more peaceful than it has been for decades, and that can only be a good thing.

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