16 December 1999 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

News of the Kesh

``The phone rings - you could cut the tension with a knife - who's going to be first to answer the phone, this would show signs of weakness or overeagerness. It's like a scene from ``The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,'' (there's possibly an argument over who would be the ugly) sidewards glances to see who is going to break first, the only thing missing is the music.''

The tension of Republican POWs waiting for their pre Christmas visits is captured with the wit and honesty which has become a hallmark of Republican tales from the jails. ``News of the Kesh'' is an internal news pamphlet produced by republican POWs in Long Kesh. Published for family and friends on the outside, the comradely banter of many of the contributions offers a small insight into life inside.

But it's not all jokes and jibes. The international news section reflects the political preoccupations of the prisoners. Human rights and national sovereignty are top of their agenda with reports from East Timor, Guatemala and Chechnya.

Last month Dr Robbie McVeigh gave an account of his recent visit to East Timor to the Gaeltacht in H5. ``Abandoned by the international community, the East Timorese waged a courageous guerrilla war through FRENTLIN, a people's army, that inflicted heavy casualities on the Indonesian army.

``Unlike the Indonesians who were supplied modern weapons, tanks and planes by the British, USA and several other European countries, the East Timorese people had to fend for themselves. They fought the war with home-made weapons and weapons they had seized from the Indonesian troops.''

In a message from the Camp OC, the prisoners look forward to the new year and the new millennium ``with some confidence that the peace process will continue to advance, but we cannot and must not take anything for granted.''

``We must continue to press our demands inside and outside the prison, never losing sight of our ultimate objectives, the unity of our country and the establishment of a democratic socialist republic. These are our guiding principles.''

Nollaig shona dhuit!

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1