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Image IV: Rockmount Street, Lower Falls

 
Republicanism has traditionally identified itself with Catholicism. In this mural on Rockmount Street in the Falls, this religious affiliation manifests itself through the plight of the H-block protesters. In the foreground, the hunger striker draws his rosary up to his lips, while behind, the Virgin Mary bathes him in her "blessings," the light emanating from her hands. The large "H" in the background clearly refers to the Republican ward at Long Kesh Prison, the center of the hunger strikes and associated protests. A banner along the top quotes the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are those who hunger for justice" (Matthew 5:6). In the early 1980s, patrols of British Security Forces vandalized Republican murals with cynically orange paint, as attested to by the splotches across the neck and body of the hunger striker here. Members of Republican youth organizations regularly touched up the murals to remove any such marks.