Hunger Strikers remembered in US
By Christy Mac an Bhaird
Irish American activists travelled from as far as Ohio and
Pennsylvania to attend Irish Northern Aid's 16th annual Hunger
Strike Commemoration protest in front of the British consulate in
Manhattan on Saturday 3 May.
Despite driving rain and strong wind gusts, activists with black
flags marched for more than two hours along Third Avenue in front
of the consulate.
On Sunday 4 May NORAID's Hartford Unit unveiled a Celtic Cross
inscribed with the names of the hunger strikers. It also includes
Frank Stagg and Michael Gaughan who died on hunger strike in
Marcella Sands Kelly, Bobby Sands's sister, was in Hartford for
the dedication of the new memorial, the first such monument in
``When you have a monument for Bobby Sands, it doesn't just stand
for Ireland,'' Mayor Michael Peters told the crowd of more than
100 gathered around the granite Celtic cross, ``it stands for all
people who are oppressed throughout the world.''
``It is sad that ten young men had to die and countless others had
to suffer in the days following the deaths of the hunger
strikers, all due to the intransigence of the British government,'' Kelly said. She
concluded with words from the final entry in her brother's prison diary:
``If they aren't able to destroy the desire for freedom, they
won't break you. They won't break me, because the desire for
freedom and the freedom of the Irish people is in my heart.''
The Hartford chapter of the Irish Northern Aid Committee raised
more than $15,000 for the memorial.
The traffic circle where the eight-foot-high cross stands was
landscaped by city workers and includes a large Irish flag in
green, white and gold flowers. The island was renamed the Bobby Sands Circle
On Long Island on Saturday night, more than two hundred attended
a social sponsored by the Nassau County Martin ``Doco'' Doherty
Unit of INA.
The names of the 11 hunger strikers and the dates they died were
read by Christy Ward as attendees stood silently at attention.
Ward also delivered the latest election news to a cheering crowd.
The event was attended by Joyce and Kevin Crossan, who currently
face deportation back to the Six Counties by the US Government.