Thomas Dixie Elliot is angered at the brazen hijacking of Bobby Sands for crass electioneering purposes. A Derry artist, Dixie Elliot is a former cellmate of Bobby Sands.
Recently Raymond McCartney, who is standing for Sinn Féin in the forthcoming elections, unveiled a billboard of himself, which included a ballot paper with Bobby Sands' image on it and a comm by Bobby (a letter written on cigarette papers), at Free Derry Wall.
He claimed that the billboard commemorated the 35th anniversary of Bobby's election to parliament.
This was nothing other than shameless electioneering with the sole intention of promoting Raymond McCartney using Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strikes otherwise why would the image of the Sinn Fein candidate be at least twice the size of that of Bobby? In fact why would he be on it at all if it merely commemorated an election Bobby stood in only in the hope that should he win Thatcher couldn't let an MP die on Hunger Strike?
While no one can say for certain where the dead would stand today had they lived it is beyond doubt that Bobby and his nine comrades most certainly would not have died on Hunger Strike had they foreseen a future in which so called Republicans would raise a toast to the British Queen, chase her son Charles for handshakes and apologise to the British Military forces for the hurt they experienced during the war.
That the party which rallied behind 'Smash Stormont' in 1981 would now prop Stormont up. At the time of his death Bobby wrote that 'they would not churn us out as systemised, institutionalised, decent law-abiding robots.' And yet those who have become exactly that now claim ownership of Bobby, his writings and his legacy.
Recently and for the second time Sinn Féin blatantly ignored the request of Bobby's family that they cease using his memory as a commodity. They also asked that the Bobby Sands Trust stop laying claim to the copyright to his writings. Would it be too much to ask for that they follow the lead given by the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick who painted the iconic Che Guevara image?
Fitzpatrick became so sickened by what he termed the 'crass commercial use of the image' that he eventually copyrighted it and now intends passing the copyright to the family of Che Guevara in Cuba.
It's bad enough that Sinn Féin uses Bobby Sands with such shameless disregard as to what he in fact died for but it quite simply beggars belief that they would put a living party member, standing for an election, on a par with someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice.