The following is the text of the message from Peggy O’Hara, mother of hunger-strike Patsy O’Hara, on the first Anniversary of the Hunger Strike deaths to Irish Solidarity activists in Scotland and England.
To all who gather in my son’s name I want you to know that it is a great source of consolation and pride that you should choose to remember and commemorate the first anniversary of the deaths in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. It softens the bitterness in my heart to know that there are some people in England and Scotland who know enough of Irish history to make them understand why my dear son Patsy and his comrades had to die on Hunger-Strike. Patsy’s suffering and death and my suffering with him has given me a free mind and an open eye which helps me to bear an aching heart. I realise that the mass of the British working class are as oppressed as the people of Ireland though in a different scenario.
Repression in Britain itself is nowadays more secretive, subtle and sophisticated (they haven’t used plastic bullets yet), but the politically unaware masses are so brainwashed that they are blind to the real causes of their misery. It is bad enough to be a slave but to be in love with your slave-master is the final degradation. That thought came to my head as I watched the adulation poured on Prince Charles with his income of millions every year. The sight of the jobless and dispossessed cheering and flag-waving, not knowing where their next day’s dinner was coming from, was to me a very depressing sight. It brought to mind that chapter in Irish history when in 1848 Queen Victoria came to visit Ireland, after she and her overlords had contrived and engineered the genocide of the Irish people, letting two million die in the guise of what is called the ‘potato famine’. When the boney wretched beings, who were the survivors lined the roads as her coach passed by, waving and bowing to her. Yes, we still have those kind of poor slaves in Ireland too. Yet my son and his comrades refused to be a slave and the powers that be in England do not let his kind of people live.
I loathe to mention the name of Maggie Thatcher and I’ll say no more, for my thoughts of her are unspeakable. As for the hierarchy of the churches they are very much a part of this charade that poses as democracy. I am mindful at this moment of Cardinal Hume who accused my son and his comrades of committing suicide, but he told the lambs that were led to the slaughter in the Falklands, that it was “a just war”. In my mind their deaths were morally closer to suicide. The only “just war” is where people drive a foreign oppressor off their own native soil. My son was part of this “just war” and for that I make no apology. I hope Patsy’s memory will go on being a source of inspiration to those who are striving to create a better kind of society in this world and to those who are fighting for the freedom of Ireland.
Yours in solidarity,