#OTD in 1981 – Day 5: Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

The Welfare sent for me today to inform me of my father being taken ill to hospital. Tried to get me to crawl for a special visit with my family. I was distressed about my father’s illness but relieved that he has been released from hospital. No matter what, I must continue.

I had a threatening toothache today which worried me, but it is gone now.

I’ve read Atkins’ statement in the Commons, Mar dheá! (Atkins pledged that the British government would not budge an inch on its intransigent position.) It does not annoy me because my mind was prepared for such things and I know I can expect more of such, right to the bitter end.

I came across some verse in Kipling’s short stories; the extracts of verses before the stories are quite good. The one that I thought very good went like this:

The earth gave up her dead that tide,

Into our camp he came,

And said his say, and went his way,

And left our hearts aflame.

Keep tally on the gun butt score,

The vengeance we must take,

When God shall bring full reckoning,

For our dead comrade’s sake.

‘I hope not,’ said I to myself. But that hope was not even a hope, but a mere figure of speech. I have hope, indeed. All men must have hope and never lose heart. But my hope lies in the ultimate victory for my poor people. Is there any hope greater than that?

I’m saying prayers — crawler! (and a last minute one, some would say). But I believe in God, and I’ll be presumptuous and say he and I are getting on well this weather.

I can ignore the presence of food staring me straight in the face all the time. But I have this desire for brown wholemeal bread, butter, Dutch cheese and honey. Ha!! It is not damaging me, because, I think, ‘Well, human food can never keep a man alive forever,’ and I console myself with the fact that I’ll get a great feed up above (if I’m worthy).

But then I’m struck by this awful thought that they don’t eat food up there. But if there’s something better than brown wholemeal bread, cheese and honey, etcetera, then it can’t be bad.

The March winds are getting angry tonight, which reminds me that I’m twenty-seven on Monday. I must go, the road is just beginning, and tomorrow is another day. I am now 62 kgs and, in general, mentally and physically, I feel very good.




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