First some words to the readers who do not know Bobby Sands:
Bobby was an Irish worker, IRA volunteer, who hunger striked in the british prison in 1981 demanding to regain the status of policical prisoners for Irish Republicans. He died as a Member of the United Kingdom Parliament after 66 days of hunger strike.
Read his biography and the history here.
From a letter:
Dear ShivaAnd the answer:
I hope you don't mind if I ask some questions:
1- Was Bobby Sands only important to Tudeh Party, or all other communist parties were interested also? Or non-Communists too?
2- How were people involved, beside writing poems after his death? I mean did people do anything to stop him from dying? I mean like demonstrations, meetings, so on?
3- And wasn't it important that he was a member of IRA? How did people think of IRA in that time?
My dear friend of a friend who is making a movie about Bobby Sands,
All I write here is just from memory and I can not swear if they are 100% right. One should have access to archives of Iranian newspapers at that time to make a research. Unfortunately I am not aware of such archives here abroad.
1- Bobby was important for several other leftist organizations as well. Tudeh Party and all leftist organizations wrote about him and had succeeded together to involve also ordinary daily press, non-leftist groups, as well as the state. As you can see in the following image, a street in Tehren, next to British Embassy, is called "Bobby Sands Street". This street was called "Winston Churchill" before!
2- The political climate in the society was very tense at that time. There were many demonstrations on many different issues and occasions almost every day in all cities of Iran. These demonstrations were met very brutally by the government and its "militia" (Pasdaran, Basidj). Many people died every day during demonstrations. To give place in daily news to Bobby in such a condition meant that he and his fight was supported and sympathized in Iran. Also I remember very vaguely that Tudeh Party arranged a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, but I don't remember if it was before or after Bobby's death. Many newspapers wrote about Bobby long before his death, followed his fight, counted days of his hunger day by day, Tudeh Party wrote a protest letter in address to the British Government, Bobby's posters were published and were sold on the streets, and, if I remember right, during Tudeh Party's First of May demonstration some days before Bobby's death people carried Bobby's posters and banners with texts protesting against British policy in North Ireland and demanding to stop Bobby's hunger;
3- It was not only Bobby - the press followed his other fellows who died during hunger strike also: Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O'Hara, and others;
4- People in Iran have been anti Britain during last 100 years. They relate all wrong things in everyday life to British policy: "It is Englishmen's fault", they say! And because "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", then IRA was supposed to be a friend of Iranians. It must be added that armed revolutionary groups were glorified at that time by almost everyone in Iran.
This is a poem by the Iranian great and popular poet Siavosh Kassrai (1927-1996) written 2 weeks before Bobby’s death:
I am sorry that my English is not that good to dare to translate Persian poems to English. A new Edward Fitzgerald would be needed for that. But I can tell you that it simply describes Bobby’s life (or death) like a candle’s life (or death): to give every drop of his existence to enlighten the darkness, to make it possible for fellows to pass through the night, and by that to answer the eternal question – To be, or not to be.
And here you find an article written by the Tudeh Party's great theoretician Ehsan Tabari (1916-1989) about Bobby Sands and his fight (in Persian, unfortunately).
I wish good luck for your firend who is making the movie and look forward to see it.
March 26, 2004
This became the movie "Hunger" (2008) by Steve McQueen!