February 20,2013

Former Irish Hunger Striker to Samer Al Issawi "Stay Strong"

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It is with great sadness I learned the emergency hearing held yesterday in Israeli court for Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer Al Issawi has once again seen his request for release denied.  This man has been illegally imprisoned under so called “Administrative Detention” without charge or trail and is now on day 211 without food. It has now been reported that he is to remain in prison until at least March 14 when his next hearing is scheduled. This is very distressing as his physical condition is currently very critical and growing more dangerous each day. I understand that his poor Mother Um Ra’fat collapsed upon hearing the court’s decision today, my heart and solidarity goes out to her and to his sister Shireen and his brother Shady who was also arrested 2 days ago without charge.

When I recently read Samer’s published letter from Prison it brought me right back to when I was also on hunger strike alongside our great hero Bobby Sands who was the first of ten men to die.  Samer said in his prison letter: “There is no going back, only in my victory” This reminds me of the words of Bobby Sands when he said “We must see our present fight right through to the very end.

Our Martyr Bobby Sands wrote the following words when he was also in Prison and when he had begun the Hunger strike. These prophetic words could today describe Samer’s struggle and the current situation in Palestine with more than 4000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.  Bobby said; “I am a political prisoner because I am a casualty of a perennial war that is being fought between the oppressed Irish (Palestinian) people and an alien, oppressive, unwanted regime that refuses to withdraw from our land.”

To Samer and all his comrades “stay strong.” I think Israel should learn from the Irish struggle and take heed. They should remember what Margaret Thatcher the former British Prime Minister once said to us.  She claimed the Irish Hunger Strike was our “Last Card”   as she let ten of my comrades die.  She thought she had won. Yet today, as I travel the world as a former Prisoner, former Hunger striker and an elected MLA, I know who is remembered, and who is forgotten.

Free Samer Issawi,  Ayman Sharawneh, Jaafar Ezzedine, and Tarek Qa'adan

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