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The Week so Far

1. Middle East

Syria continued its crackdown on anti-government protesters, with tanks approaching the flashpoint city of Deraa on 10 May. The death toll from the uprising has now reached 630, according to human rights groups. "I hope we are witnessing the end of the story," said a government spokeswoman.

2. North America

Texas is expected to allow concealed handguns on campus at public universities, after Republicans in the state senate approved the measure. The chancellor of the University of Texas claimed it will lead to more campus crime and suicides.

3. Latin America

Up to 150,000 people took part in a four-day silent march in Mexico calling for an end to the country's war on drugs. They were led by the poet Javier Sicilia, whose son was murdered with six others in Cuernavaca in March.

4. Asia

The Bangladeshi government continues to practise extrajudicial killings, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. More than 200 people have been killed by the country's Rapid Action Battalion, which was established to combat terrorism in 2004.

5. Europe

The European Union is likely to renegotiate its financial bailout
of Greece after it emerged that the country will not be able to meet the obligations of the original €110bn rescue package. The EU is expected to offer Greece a further €30bn-€50bn to service its debt, which is now €340bn, or 18 months of Greek GDP.

6. Africa

Two hundred people were killed by retreating militiamen loyal to the ousted leader Laurent Gbagbo in Côte d'Ivoire in early May. The attacks came after Alassane Ouattara was sworn in as president on 6 May, following a four-month stand-off in which 3,000 people died.

7. Technology

The social networking website LinkedIn will be valued at $3.3bn when it floats on the New York Stock Exchange later this month. The firm expects to raise as much as $274m in the initial public offering, as it cashes in on the appetite for internet firms and social media sites.

8. Business

British banks will have to give back around £5bn to customers who were missold payment protection insurance, after they decided not to appeal a high court decision on the matter. Lloyds, Barclays, RBS and HSBC have set aside a total of £5.32bn to refund to customers who did not know they were buying the insurance or who were ineligible to claim it.

9. People

The former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has separated from his wife, Maria Shriver, a journalist and member of the Kennedy dynasty. Schwarzenegger stood down as governor six months ago and plans to restart his film career.

10. Health

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of children developing behavioural problems, according to a survey of more than 10,000 mothers carried out by researchers. Four per cent of breastfed children had behavioural problems, compared to 16 per cent of children who were fed with formula milk.

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Must I unremember the day I wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man?

At that time we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

The misremembering of history interrupts these tales of my own squalid past. Very often I find myself wishing my memories were wrong, or that I’d forgotten more than I have. This would certainly be the case were I to be a politician, albeit a small-time one in big-time government. In the era of renunciations and sincere apologies, I would have to say sorry most of the time.

But I can’t. I can’t get past that clear day in May 1981, when the tangy cold spring air of a New York day got right inside me. Ambling home from another long, messy night in the Village, I was near 52nd when I saw people carrying a coffin.

“It’s not him, of course. It’s a fake coffin,” said a woman who saw the shock on my face. Maybe I was already crying. I knew and didn’t know but asked anyway.

“Yes. Bobby.”

Bobby Sands had died. Crowds were gathering with banners about Smashing Long Kesh and Smashing Thatcher.

The shock of it has never left me and God knows “martyrs” come two a penny now. Yet the idea that someone can starve themselves slowly to death for an idea is shocking. The idea that someone can let them do it, either “for” a United Ireland or “for” a United Kingdom, remains profoundly disturbing to me.

I need no lectures about what vile and murderous bastards the IRA were, or the numbers of innocents they killed. Nor about the smeary sentimentality of martyrdom itself. All I can say is that I had little idea of what “we” did in Ireland as long as I lived in England. A boy at school had run off to join the IRA. My mum said, “Well, he’s always been tapped, that one.”

We were kept ignorant. For some stupid reason, I did not think that Thatcher would let the hunger strikers die.

Their demands, remember, were the right not to wear prison uniform or to do prison work, rights to free association and education within the prison, one visit, one parcel, one letter a week. They wanted to be treated as political prisoners. Thatcher said Sands had no mandate. He was actually an MP, with more votes than she ever won in Finchley.

In New York that day, when we got to Third Avenue, there was anger and then solemnity. There were mumblings about what a death like that entailed . . . Mandela then instigated a hunger strike on Robben Island. There were protests in Milan and Ghent. French towns would name streets after Sands.

At that time, though, yes, we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

So, must I unremember that day when I sat down on the pavement and wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man? Let me know how to uncry all those tears shed for that terrible, terrible waste.

Suzanne Moore is a writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She writes the weekly “Telling Tales” column in the NS.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide