“All things must come to pass as one, so hope shouts, never die. There is no height or bloody might that a freeman can’t defy. There is no source or foreign force, can break one man who knows, that his free will nothing can kill, and from that freedom grows.”
These words, penned by the wonderfully inspirational and, I believe, visionary, Bobby Sands are so relevant in our present scenario. When republicanism is at its strongest and most influential position since the 1920s it is the memory of our republican comrades and their experiences which continues to inspire and to drive us on to the goal of a fair, equal and inclusive society, a society which dignifies and complements our fallen heroes.
The republican calendar is jam-packed with anniversaries of people who have fallen victim to the oppressive might of that foreign force so eloquently spoken of. Another anniversary, that of Tom Williams, is upon us. A young man hanged in Crumlin Road Jail, on Wednesday, September 2, 1942, penned these words: “Carry on, no matter what odds are against you; carry on, no matter what the enemy call you; carry on, no matter what torments are inflicted on you; the road to freedom is paved with suffering, hardships and torture; carry on, gallant comrades, until that certain day.”
The war is over, but the struggle continues, and it will continue. The dynamic has changed. The need for armed conflict has been removed. It is incumbent on each and every one of us to carry on and that we make a contribution no matter how small; everyone has his or her part to play. Let us continue the struggle for that society which cherishes all of its children equally; let the revenge of our fallen comrades be the laughter of our children and let us defeat the opponents of change with the logic and truth which threatens no-one but rather protects and guarantees religious and civil liberty to all. The armed struggle has ended. The struggle for a just and a fair society continues.