hunger strike
Why Hunger Strike?
Thursday, February 14, 2013

jawdat nassar
by Jay Nussar, M.Sc.:
Political Assembly Ottawa
Hunger strike has been a mean of contestation and struggle for long. Wikipedia had an article about hunger strike reviewing its early history and its impact. The article records that it has been in pre-Christianity Ireland and in India.

In modern times, Mahatmas Ghandi had used it against British atrocities in India. Ireland again accompanies India in the records as it had been used in Northern Ireland: several Irish had lost their life under hunger strike.

Recently it became one of the few means of struggle available for Palestinian prisoners. While some Palestinian prisoners have gained remarkable victories others remained fasting to date, please visit

irish palestinian solidarity day
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Usually hunger striker ceases to take food albeit continuing to take liquid. This will allow the protest to go on for a long period of time to maximum gains and publicity. While both can lead to the death of the person, committing the suicide bombing ends the life of a person immediately. However, hunger striker can last several weeks or depends on the protester it might take several months to end someone life. Initially, the body starts using the stored fat before starting to consume itself.

Prisoners who go on hunger strike know how upsetting it can be to their captives or to the contested authority. The prison administration will do all possible techniques of intimidations to compel the prisoner to eat and drink. Despite it is a violation of human rights, it happens that captives forcibly feed a hunger striker.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is one of the organizations, which commit itself, according to their website, to ensure that a prisoner is not forced to eat or not forced to starve (among other mandates).

hunger strike The first impact of hunger strike on the captive is initial defeat as the person goes beyond being punished in prison to the fact that the striker is revolting and in control of his or her destination again.

By having organizations such as ICRC to visit the prison and to perform their mandates, the prisoner is actually leading his own intifada again despite weakened body. This peaceful means of struggle is a huge embarrassment to governments and authorities. Strikers are regarded with respect as they chose peacefully scarifying themselves putting their cause first.