Credit: Stephen Barnes CC BY 2.0

ON THIS DAY: 20 August 1981 : Mickey Devine was the tenth and last hunger striker to die in Long Kesh

Memorial for Hunger Strikers in Milltown Cemetery, West Belfast. Used under CC Licence
Mickey Devine was the last man to die on the hunger strike started by Bobby Sands in early March. As a young man Bloody Sunday had a deep effect on him, he was there with this brother-in-law who remembered Mickey rhetorically ask “How can you sit back and watch while your own Derrymen are shot down like dogs?”
The Hunger Strike was Intended to secure the Five Demands, which were:
  • The right not to wear a prison uniform;
  • The right not to do prison work;
  • The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits;
  • The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
  • Full restoration of remission lost through the protest.
Mickey wrote this poem on the eve of the beginning of his hunger strike
If Jesus Christ appeared tonight
With his body bruised and bare
And He said He lived in H-Block
And asked you did you care,
If He asked you would you help him
Before He went insane
To help Him bear His burden of suffering and pain,
I wonder would it stir you
To raise your voice and cry
To tell the world of torture
And all the reasons why?
But what about His children
Who suffer day and night,
Have you raised a hand to free them
From their lonely hell-like night?
For this day a broken body
Will live through trial and fear
And feel the pain of hunger
And shed a silent tear.
He’ll take a look around him
And to heaven make a plea:
“They crucified you, Jesus,
Now they’re doing it to me”.
But even through his anguish
When nothing seems worthwhile
The thought of home and family
Will always raise a smile.
The efforts of His loved ones,
His friends and comrades too,
They’ve tried their best to help him.
The question is- will you?
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