Our revenge will be the
laughter of our children by Gerry Shannon
says: what if the ideology of the Worker's Party and it's military wing,
the Official IRA, was the most popular amongst nationalists during "the
Troubles"? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not
necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1981, on April 9th Robert
Sands was elected as Member of Parliament in a by-election for the Fermanagh
and South Tyrone district of Northern Ireland, on a ticket for "The Worker's
Party of Ireland".
Sands' election is historical for several reasons. At age 29, he is the
youngest MP ever elected in the United Kingdom, but he is yet another
electoral success for the Marxist-Leninist Worker's Party - a further
vindication of the far left strategy persued by party leaders Cathal
Goulding and Sean Garland following the split in the republican Sinn Féin
party in 1970. The party most notably has a parliamilitary wing, the
Official Irish Republican Army, of which Sands was a member until it's
permanent ceasefire in 1972.
In his victory speech, Sands claims: "Our revenge will be the laughter of
our children". In this oft-repeated phrase by his admirers in the decades
after, Sands made clear his intention to destroy the inequality amongst
the working class of the Unionist-dominated state forever when he took his
seat in the power-sharing government in Stormont. (The power-sharing
executive had been in place since the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973).
He would keep his seat through subsequent elections until resigning to
become a candiate in the 1990 presidential election for the twenty-six
counties of the Republic of Ireland. Sands was the shared nominee for the
Worker's Party and Labour. Sands would win, and would serve the fourteen
years of two terms as President until leaving office in 2004 - quite
possibly the most popular holder of the title of President thus far in the
history of the Irish Republic. Outside of political life, Sands would also
become a semi-regular author of several collections of short stories and
poetry, mostly written in Irish.
says of course, "Our revenge will be the laughter of our children" is a
quote from Sands' prison diary which he kept during his imprisonment as a
member of the Provisional IRA. The prison diary was published years after
his famous (and fatal) hunger strike for "political status" by the British
government. During the hunger strike, Sinn Féin, the political wing of the
Provisional IRA, put him forward as a candidate for the Fermanagh-Tyrone
by-election - which he won. "The People's Own MP" is an Irish rebel song by
Christy Moore, about Bobby Sands.
To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Other Stories by Gerry Shannon
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
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superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting