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1. ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
3rd October 1981
THE IRA HUNGER STRIKE ENDS
After seven months and ten deaths, the IRA call off their hunger strike at the Maze Prison, Belfast
In 1972, convicted Irish Republican terrorists were granted "Special Category" status, in which they were treated like prisoners-of-war with the same rights. A series of IRA atrocities, such as the Birmingham Pub bombings of 1974, had caused a public outcry in Britain and in 1976 it was decided that all Republican terrorists convicted after 1st March would not receive Special Category status and would be treated as civillian criminals.
IRA prisoner protests against this policy change began with the "Blanket Protest" in September 1976 when prisoners refused to wear prison uniform and wrapped themselves in their bedding blankets. In 1978, after a number of attacks on "Blanket" prisoners, this was escalated to the "Dirty Protest" where prisoners refused to wash and smeared the walls with their own faeces. The IRA issued "the five demands" for their prisoners:
1. The right not to wear a prison uniform;
2. The right not to do prison work;
3. The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organize educational and recreational pursuits;
4. The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
5. Full restoration of remission lost through the protest
After making no progress, in 1980 a hunger strike was declared. This was ended when the British government issued a thirty-page document proposing a settlement, saving the life of Sean McKenna, who after 53 days was close to death. However the meeting of the Five Demands did not result and in January 1981 the strike was renewed. During the strike, the IRA commander in the prison, Bobby Sands, was elected to parliament in a "propaganda coup" by-election.
In October, after ten deaths, the strike was called off when families of the surviving strikers made it clear they would intervene to save their lives if they became unconscious. Portrayed as a victory for Margaret Thatcher in the British press, in reality for the IRA the strike was a success. They got massive publicity, an upsurge in recruits, and all but demand 2 of the Five Demands were quietly met. Even this demand had to be conceded after the Great Escape of 1983 when the prison workshop, where weapons were fashioned, was closed.
The strike also changed IRA tactics, from being mainly paramilitary to having a strong political dimension which galvanized considerable support in the Irish Catholic communities. The strike made it clear that the IRA had too much popular support to be defeated militarily and a political solution was needed, which finally arrived in the form of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
2. TODAY IN MY LIFE
Shift 2 of the Weekend Job
Twitter Followers = 2,019 (no change)
Non-followed eliminated = 0
Unfollowers eliminated = 1
New Followers followed back =0
Spammers not followed back = 1
3. TODAY'S SELF-OBSERVATION
4. TODAY'S QUESTION FOR YOU
Do you know how and are you prepared to defend yourself?
5. TODAY'S WEATHER IN BRADFORD
Foggy until mid-morning
Cloudy thereafter with sunny spells and clear periods after dusk
Wind negligibleMax Temp = 11 degC at 4pm
Min Temp = 7 degC at 7am
Sunrise at 07:12
Sunset at 18:39
Weathertrack: An anticyclone over Ireland will keep Britain dry and calm
Air Pressure: 1018 millibars and falling
6. TODAY'S ONELINER
I would exercise, but then all the sprinkles would fall off my cupcake :D
7. NOW THAT'S FUNNY!
Europeans had no contact with India after the death of Alexander the Great until Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed in Calicut in the Kerala region in 1498
9. ZEN WISDOM
Peace is not found somewhere far away. Peace is found where there is caring. Peace is found when you bring joy to your mother instead of suffering. Peace is found when you reach out and make an effort to understand and embrace someone who is different from you.