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Bobby Sands hunger strike film

The Turner prize winning artist Steve McQueen has announced his first feature film, a film about the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

The story will look at his last six weeks as he starved himself to death in the Maze prison. The film is to be called Hunger. Of the film the Director and co-writer says:

"What I want to convey is something you can't find in books or archive, the ordinariness and extraordinariness of life in this prison. Yet also the film is an abstraction in a certain way, a meditation on what it is like to die for a cause."

His comments do concern me because they give the feeling of an extremely romanticised story, something akin to Ghandi's hunger strike. Sands was a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and was implicated, although never convicted, of the bombing of the Balmoral Furniture Company and of a shoot out with the Police. It was after the shoot out he was caught trying to flee the scene with handguns in his car, one of which had been fired at the Police.

During his time in prison he led protests to try and have the prisoners political status recognised, rather than being treated as straight criminals. The protests led to the hunger strikes, during which Sands was even elected as an MP, which then caused the Government to push through an act stating that people who served more than a years jail time could not become Politicians.

Nine other IRA and INLA members who were involved in the hunger strikes also died after him. After these events the IRA received new funds and escalated their campaigns of terror.

The story comes from the Press Association through The Banbury Guardian.

What concerns me is that in bringing a story like this to film, if it's not handled with care and an unbiased view, that it may just spark some of the feelings that caused riots and the increased IRA activities of the time. Of course McQueen could be heading in a more level headed manner, but the comments here do seem rather romanticised.





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Comments

Bobby Sands is revered by Irish nationalists as a patriot. His death lead to protests and commemorations across the globe. His story is certainly worth telling and I too hope its done appropriately.

I very much doubt that the mere dramatisation of his sacrifice will lead to violence or somehow convince republicans to go back to war when they are currently at the forefront of political progress in the north of Ireland.

With a film of this kind, it is always a worry that the subject matter will be overly romanticized; because we have to remember that Bobby Sands was an ardent member of a brutally murderous terrorist organization, responsible for the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of people over the course of the troubles. This was no romantic freedom fighter, but rather a stone-cold killer, convicted of numerous offences. I only hope any film reflects that

It would have to be one very powerful film to cause the IRA to re-form, re-organise, re-arm and resume armed conflict. The last paragraph of the blog actually shows very little understanding of contemporary Irish politics or the temper of the present population.

In terms of the troubles the Story of Bobby Sands is a pivotal one as it was probably the first time that Republicans saw that there may be another way to combat the British, and it showed the British that there was no way to break the Republican movement and it would eventually have to make concessions.

"With a film of this kind, it is always a worry that the subject matter will be overly romanticized; because we have to remember that Bobby Sands was an ardent member of a brutally murderous terrorist organization, responsible for the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of people over the course of the troubles."

It's not just the means of the IRA that are problematic but also their ends. The IRA's raison d'etre was to force Northern Ireland under the rule of a country against the wishes of the majority of people living there. Like the Serbs idea of including Bosnia in a Greater Serbia.

It may seem a trusim to remind people that no side comes out of the Troubles unscathed.

I would hope, if you were consistent in your beliefs, that you regard the British Army in the same light, as a brutal and murderous organisation, but I'd imagine you don't, that you'd probably admit, if pushed, that a lot of their actions were heinous but still afford them the dignity of being, at root, a group of scared young men fighting for something they believed in, probably at the behest of older, more callous individuals pulling the strings, manipulating their fears and sense of loyalty into doing their dirty work for them. If you believe that no excuse is ever permissable for atrocities - an entirely valid viewpoint - then I'd imagine you spend your days lobbying for full disarmament of your own military.

I'd include the conceit that perhaps you think the British Army were even decent in their treatment of Northern Ireland, but I presume you've read a book or two.

This film could be powerful because Bobby Sands was an example of a man who transcended the horribe, dirty little conflict in the North with idealism [i]rather[/i] than force. Yes he burned down a furniture warehouse, the cad. For shame. If he had wanted to burn the Maze to the ground he could have arranged it in a weekend, yet he didn't. He stopped eating, let his muscles atrophy and his organs haemorrhage.

"This was no romantic freedom fighter, but rather a stone-cold killer, convicted of numerous offences. I only hope any film reflects that"

Actually Bobby Sands was jailed because a hadgun was found in the car in which he was travelling. He and three others were given fourteen-year sentences each, which in England may have been considered draconian but in the occupied six counites was simply par for the course.


"It's not just the means of the IRA that are problematic but also their ends. The IRA's raison d'etre was to force Northern Ireland under the rule of a country against the wishes of the majority of people living there. Like the Serbs idea of including Bosnia in a Greater Serbia."

This is an ahistorical analysis. Ireland was partitioned by England against the wishes of the majority of its population, including many prominent unionists. The six-county state was created for the purpose of having an in-built loyal majority. Such a majority is not democratic, and 50 years of a one-party state here was testament to that.

is it true that bobby sands was buried in a pencil case?

To say that the IRA was a murderous Orginazation would be Ironic since it started out as a group protecting innocent Civilians from Anti-Catholic Bigots and Police who on their off time would ride into Catholic areas and hack people to death with butcher Knives for Fun. The racist aparthied regime that was the British Government Made Sure that Catholics had NO rights and were treated in such a way the the Brits treated most of their coloniezed people, like trash, exept in Ireland The British were extra Brutal because of the fact that the Irish had the balls to Fight back and they Drove the British from 26 of 32 Counties, The British took out their anger of being beaten on the Irish in the land they still contolled, The IRA was a group of Freedom Fighters who were trying to Free thier homeland from Tyranny and opression, the British army on the other hand, brutally murdered terrorised, and was responsible for the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of people over the course of the troubles. so if u object to a movie about Bobby Sands would you object to a movie about Ian Paisly, or Oliver Cromwell who massecred Thousands of Irish?

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