Hunger Strikes: The return of the silent protest

It's long been used as a weapon in the fights for freedom and independence. A tactic that's counted by the day. And it appears the hunger strike is seeing a resurgence as a tool or protest.



Three of The Current

Hunger Strikes: The return of the silent protest - UN Human Rights

Mahatma Gandhi often wielded his greatest power when he was weak from hunger. Bobby Sands never knew how successful he was. The IRA prisoner died after nearly ten weeks of fasting in 1981.

The name Orlando Tamayo may not be as well known. The Cuban dissident died after more than 80 days of a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. A hunger strike can draw the world's attention. Or it can literally be -- a waste. Nevertheless, for desperate people, the hunger strike is a viable option -- and the number of desperate people appears to be growing.

Last week, a Palestinian man protesting what he believed to be an arbitrary arrest by Israel, took food for the first time in 66 days. Khader Adnan ended his hunger strike when Israel agreed to release him next month.

Richard Falk is the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights, and he's written extensively about Khader Adnan. We reached him in Santa Barbara, California.

Hunger Strikes: The return of the silent protest - Hunger-Striking Activist

Protesters in the small island kingdom of Bahrain began demanding democratic reform this past spring. What Abdulhadi Alkhawaja got was a knock on his door in the middle of the night and was placed under arrest.

The prominent human rights activist is now serving a life sentence in prison. He began a hunger strike February 9th. His daughter, Zainab Alkhawaja joined us from Manama, Bahrain.

Hunger Strikes: The return of the silent protest

Our next guest has written extensively about hunger and hunger strikes in her book Hunger: An Unnatural History. Sharman Russell is a professor at Western New Mexico University. She was in Silver City, New Mexico.

This segment was produced The Current's Pacinthe Mattar.

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Last Word - Gender and Kids

Today's last word goes to The Current's Shannon Higgins. She's producing a story for Monday's show on some of the most ignored and vulnerable children in Canada.


Other segments from today's show:

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