His Land, His Legs, His Life

The Great March Of Return was a six-week protest by Palestinians in Gaza. Most protestors at the border fence with Israel were non-violent but there are reports of some with rocks, burning tyres, Molotov cocktails on a kite, and an AK-47 (WP). It ended (officially – incidents have continued) on May 15th, Nakba Day, the “day of the catastrophe”, meaning the displacement of Palestinians in the 1948 war. The protest demanded that refugees be allowed to return home – there are 1.1 million living in Gaza. During the protest more than 100 Palestinians died, many by live fire by Israeli forces, and more than 13,000 were injured. According to the mural above, “It’s time the Irish Government show some humanity and act for the Palestinian people. 1. Officially recognise the state of Palestine. 2. Impose economic sanctions on Israel. 3. End all diplomatic ties with the apartheid state. Boycott Israel, an apartheid state.”

The wheelchair protestor shown on the right is double amputee Saber Al-Ashkar. He has not, however, been reported dead, as the text below the image (and reports on Twitter and elsewhere) suggests: “They took his land, his legs, and finally his life.” The death might refer to another such protestor Fadi Abu Salah, who was killed in May (Alaraby) (or Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who was shot in December 2017 – Independent obituary). The UN Commissioner for Human Rights called the killing “incomprehensible” (Guardian); an internal IDF investigation found that Abu Thuraya was not shot by Israeli snipers (Times Of Israel).

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Cease This Activity!

The so-called International Wall on Divis Street draws coach-loads of tourists every day (“tens of thousands” according to Sinn Féin’s Fra McCann). A new IRSP board affixed to the top of the ‘magic lantern’ mural (see Spreading The Word) warns visitors to take precautions. “Community notice: thieves are operating in this area. Please make sure your valuables are secure and out of sight. Respect our community and visitors. Cease this activity!” Here are articles about the Divis Hoods Liberation Army (DHLA) from 2017 and 2016.
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Battle Of Long Kesh

CR gas, along with CS, VX and other chemical agents, was developed at the MoD lab in Porton Down, and authorised and available for use from 1973 onwards against prisoners in Long Kesh (Guardian). Jim McCann was in Long Kesh during the ‘Battle Of Long Kesh’, when republican prisoners attempted to burn down the cages in which they were being kept in protest at conditions in the camp (An Phoblacht). His memoir, And The Gates Flew Open (An Ceathrú Póilí), continues the campaign by him and other prisoners to get the British to admit that the gas was used on inmates during the riot. The book was launched last month in the Cultúrlann.

In the lower left corner is a quoted telegram from Fr. Denis Faul, Fr. Raymond Murray: “To international Red Cross … Visited Long Kesh today with others … Request immediate investigation into use of CR gas … sub-human conditions … SOS … come immediately …” 20 Oct. 1974. These two wrote an 80-page report on the conditions at the camp following the event, entitled The Flames Of Long Kesh.
For more information, see the post on the similar 2014 mural that marked the 40th anniversary of the battle. For in-progress shots, see yesterday’s post.
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The Battle Of Long Kesh

Here are two in-progress shots of a new mural depicting the Battle Of Long Kesh in 1974. We will have images of the completed mural, and background, tomorrow.
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Irish Republican History Museum

The Irish Republican History Museum in Conway Mill is named for Eileen Hickey, a Provisional IRA member who served time in Armagh prison (An Phoblacht obituary), a cell of which is depicted in the image above. Hickey’s portrait is included in a mural opposite the museum.
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Kieran Nugent

The first blanket man, Kieran Nugent (obituary at An Phoblacht), is back in the first spot of the Divis Street wall, where he has resided, with brief interruptions, since 2005. Most recently, a board with the same image as this one was replaced by part of the 1916 centenary mural (see Young Ireland); before that, he was moved further down the wall to the hunger striker mural (along with Mairéad Farrell) to make way for a pro-Catalan mural.
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Ireland Stands With Catalonia

Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, will address the regional parliament today, the first time since the referendum on October 1st and the violence that accompanied it. He threatened to announce an independent Catalonia within 48 hours of the poll, but today might in fact be the day (Irish Times | Guardian).
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Administrative Detention

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Palestinian prisoner and hunger striker Bilal Kayed last week called off his hunger strike after 71 days of fasting, after reaching an agreement with his Israeli captors for his release in December, after a six-month “administrative’ extension to his original 14.5 year sentence (Alternative News). Hence the slogan “End internment, end administrative detention” (alongside “Free all political prisoners” and the IRPWA emblem). Update: Kayed released 2016-12-12.
The mural is at the right-hand end of the so-called International Wall in west Belfast. For the controversy over the painting of the mural adjacent to the historical panels on the rest of the wall, see The World Did Gaze In Deep Amaze.
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The World Did Gaze In Deep Amaze

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Towards the end of July, the IRPWA began painting a POW mural for the right end of the wall, space that the historical painters hoped to use for a gallery of international figures inspired by Irish resistance — Leonard Peltier, Marcus Garvey, V.I. Lenin,W.E.B. DuBois, Mahatma Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara, Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Muammar Gaddafi, Yassar Arafat, General Giap, and Sukhdev Thapar (see the final image, below) — under the title “And the world did gaze with deep amaze” (a line from the song The Foggy Dew). This would have provided a book-end to the mural similar to the gallery of early nationalist figures at the left-hand end. The IRPWA whitewashed the end of the wall (see the third image, below) and commenced work on a POW mural (leading to two sets of painters working at the wall in late July (second image)). In the end, only Leonard Peltier was painted, in the same style as Wolfe Tone. And later, Seany McVeigh’s Pearse Surrenders To The Developers was added (see the fourth image).
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AndTheWorldDidGaze

Willowbank Huts

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The old military huts at Willow Bank (or: Willowbank; the modern-day La Salle/Iveagh area on the Falls) – which were still in use in 1896 – provided a training ground for Cumann na mBan and the Irish Volunteers in the run-up to the Easter Rising.

The small figures between the huts and the trainees in the foreground are Charlie Monahan (born in Ballymacarrett, raised in the Markets, who died in a car accident on the way to meet Casement’s arms on board the Aud (findagraveAn Phoblacht)), Manus O’Boyle (BMH witness statement), Jack White (who fought for Britain in the second Boer War and was later captain in the Irish Citizen Army (WP)), and Volunteer Sean O’Neill.

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