It has been a fairly normal day in my present circumstances. My weight is 59. 3 kgs. and I have no medical problems. I have seen some birthday greetings from relatives and friends in yesterday’s paper which I got today. Also I received a bag of toiletries today.
There is no priest in tonight, but the chief medical officer dropped in, took my pulse, and left. I suppose that makes him feel pretty important.
From what I have read in the newspapers I am becoming increasingly worried and wary of the fact that there could quite well be an attempt at a later date to pull the carpet from under our feet and undermine us — if not defeat this hunger-strike — with the concession bid in the form of ‘our own clothes as a right’.
This, of course, would solve nothing. But if allowed birth could, with the voice of the Catholic hierarchy, seriously damage our position. It is my opinion that under no circumstances do they wish to see the prisoners gain political status, or facilities that resemble, or afford us with the contents of, political status.
The reasons for this are many and varied, primarily motivated by the wish to see the revolutionary struggle of the people brought to an end. The criminalisation of Republican prisoners would help to furnish this end.
It is the declared wish of these people to see humane and better conditions in these Blocks. But the issue at stake is not ‘humanitarian’, nor about better or improved living conditions. It is purely political and only a political solution will solve it. This in no way makes us prisoners elite nor do we (nor have we at any time) purport to be elite.
We wish to be treated ‘not as ordinary prisoners’ for we are not criminals. We admit no crime unless, that is, the love of one’s people and country is a crime.
Would Englishmen allow Germans to occupy their nation or Frenchmen allow Dutchmen to do likewise? We Republican prisoners understand better than anyone the plight of all prisoners who are deprived of their liberty. We do not deny ordinary prisoners the benefit of anything that we gain that may improve and make easier their plight. Indeed, in the past, all prisoners have gained from the resistance of Republican jail struggles.
I recall the Fenians and Tom Clarke, who indeed were most instrumental in highlighting by their unflinching resistance the ‘terrible silent system’ in the Victorian period in English prisons. In every decade there has been ample evidence of such gains to all prisoners due to Republican prisoners’ resistance.
Unfortunately, the years, the decades, and centuries, have not seen an end to Republican resistance in English hell-holes, because the struggle in the prisons goes hand-in-hand with the continuous freedom struggle in Ireland. Many Irishmen have given their lives in pursuit of this freedom and I know that more will, myself included, until such times as that freedom is achieved.
I am still awaiting some sort of move from my cell to an empty wing and total isolation. The last strikers were ten days in the wings with the boys, before they were moved. But then they were on the no-wash protest and in filthy cells. My cell is far from clean but tolerable. The water is always cold. I can’t risk the chance of cold or ‘flu. It is six days since I’ve had a bath, perhaps longer. No matter.
Tomorrow is the eleventh day and there is a long way to go. Someone should write a poem of the tribulations of a hunger-striker. I would like to, but how could I finish it.
Caithfidh mé a dul mar tá tuirseach ag eirí ormsa.
(Translated, this reads as follows):
Must go as I’m getting tired.