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“You cannot mourn someone who has not died,” the Argentine-Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman once observed. Dolours Price’s mother and grandmother had both been members of this group. convened a special meeting to consider her case, and, in August, 1971, Price became the first woman admitted to full membership in the I. Like Dolours, he had grown up in a Belfast family deeply rooted in the I. “We all fell in love with this weapon,” Hughes recalled.

Helen and Archie reported Jean’s abduction to the police, but in the files of the Royal Ulster Constabulary there is no record of any investigation at the time. And so some of the children held out hope for years that they had not been orphaned, and that their mother might suddenly reappear. The blast blew off both of her hands, and permanently blinded her. A., began preparing for a sustained guerrilla campaign. But Dolours did not want to bandage men’s wounds, she said—she wanted to be “a fighting soldier.” The leadership of the Provisional I. The Armalite was ideal for urban warfare: lightweight and powerful, with a retractable stock that made it easy to conceal. A., his father destroyed the family’s photographs of him, so that British forces could not identify him by sight.

Startled, they trained their rifles on him and bellowed at him to climb back down.

“You had no respect for the law, because all’s you seen is brutality,” Michael recalled.

“I was just told to give you these.” When I spoke to Michael recently, he said, “I knew then, though I was only eleven years of age, that my mother was dead.” His siblings were not so quickly convinced. Another friend of the sisters told me that Dolours was drawn to the I. A., in some measure, by “rebel chic.” During this period, Dolours crossed paths with Gerry Adams. In March, 1972, the British government interned Adams on the Maidstone, a British prison ship, but in June he was released so that he could represent an I. He lived “from operation to operation,” he said later.