[Ppnews] Irish Hunger Striker Bobby Sand’s Words Ring True for Palestinian Samer Al Essawi

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 24 10:32:50 EST 2013

    Irish Hunger Striker Bobby Sand’s Words Ring True for Samer Al Essawi

UFree Network | Media Centre
Web Link: http://ufree-p.net/index.php/site/index/news/151/3 
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Palestinian Political Prisoner and Hunger striker, Samer Al Essawi was 
wheeled into the Israeli magistrate court yesterday to hear the verdict 
on his appeal. Having now been on hunger strike for more than 183 days, 
Samer’s body is now starting to break down, he is no longer able to walk 
on his own. In short order it was soon announced by the Israeli court 
that his appeal was denied. The next step is to go before the Israeli 
Military court on 5th February at which time a decision will be made to 
release him, or keep him imprisoned. Either way the next few weeks are 
dangerous and critical for Samer and his family.

Samer Al Essawi was originally arrested during the 2nd Intifada and was 
sentenced to 26 years in prison. Then, in 2012, during the Gilad Shalit 
Swap Deal between Palestinian political factions and Israel, Samer was 
freed along with hundreds of his fellow political prisoners. However, 
Israel appears to now be reneging on this deal and has continued a 
random policy of re-arresting some of those released prisoners, one of 
whom is Samer, and placing them on Administrative Detention.

B'Tselem reports that “at the end of November 2012, some 4,430 
Palestinian security detainees and prisoners were held in Israeli 
prisons.” Additionally, 990 of them are being held until their legal 
proceedings are completed and another 178 are simply being held 
indefinitely without charge or trial e.g. Administrative Detention. 
Therefore, prisoners like Samer have very little they can use as 
leverage against the illegal and barbaric conditions that are forced 
upon them, but they have found a way to fight back.

Palestinian prisoners are now waging war with only their bodies and 
their will to resist as weapons. And following in the footsteps of Irish 
Political prisoners, they are now using the tactic of Hunger strike 
against their enemy.

UFree Network recently organised a Delegation from Palestine 48 
consisting of the Yousef Al Sedeeq Institute for Prisoners Protection 
and the Meezan Centre for Human rights. The Palestine 48 Delegation was 
facilitated by the Irish Friends of Palestine and visited the two cities 
of Derry and Belfast in the North of Ireland. Both of these cities are 
steeped in the history of occupation, struggle.

During the visit members of the Delegation held many important meetings 
with people who were involved in both of the recent Hunger strikes in 
Ireland. They met with Pat Sheehan and Raymond McCartney, both men took 
part in Irish hunger strikes. Pat Sheehan would have been the next do 
die had the 1981 Hunger strike continued. He was very near death. Yet 
today both men are now elected MLA’s and received the Palestine 48 
Delegation at Stormont Government building which once represented a 
Bastion of British Occupation. Inside this building former Irish 
political prisoners met with the Delegation. Meetings were also held 
with Jim Gibney to discuss the strategy involved in community organising 
locally and internationally during the Irish Hunger strike. The 
Palestine 48 Delegation hopes to learn ways of increasing international 
awareness and support for their own hunger strike taking place back home.

During the visit to Ireland, many former Irish political prisoners and 
former hunger strikers sent their messages of solidarity and support to 
Samer and to the others imprisoned. The many similarities between 
Ireland and Palestine were not lost on members of the Delegation and 
during their time in Ireland they visited many sites of remembrance for 
Irish Martyrs and victims of the struggle. However it was during a visit 
to the grave of Bobby Sands who led the 1981 hunger strike that the 
delegation felt compelled to leave a mark of respect to a fallen Irish 
comrade who died on Hunger strike.
A former prisoner and managing director of Al Sedeeq Institute for 
Prisoners Protection then placed a Palestinian flag scarf alongside 
Bobby’s grave. Soon all thoughts turned to Samer and his plight for 
freedom and a message of support was then sent to Samer from Ireland. He 
is now suffering from multiple health problems including vertigo, 
intense abdominal pains, blurred and double vision and joint pain. His 
organs are beginning to reach the stage where they will start to shut 
down, one by one.

With only his body and will as a weapon, Samer has said he will continue 
the hunger strike until his freedom. So the question to Israel from 
people of conscience around the world remains the same, will his freedom 
come when he is released to return home, or will his freedom come when 
he is released in death. Israel should remember that the Irish Hunger 
strike was a turning point that saw worldwide support the Irish 
Political prisoners. And should Samer also be forced to die in prison, 
so too will the tide turn against Israel.

*In the immortal words of Bobby Sands:*
There’s an inner thing in every man,Do you know this thing my friend?It 
has withstood the blows of a million years,And will do so to the end.
It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,It screams in tyrants’ eyes,It has 
reached the peak of mountains high,It comes searing across the skies.
It lights the dark of this prison cell,It thunders forth its might,It is 
‘the undauntable thought’, my friend,That thought that says ‘I’m right!’

*UFree Network | Media Centre *
media at ufree-p.net <mailto:%20media at ufree-p.net>
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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