06/02/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Suffragettes Mary Clarke, Jean Hewart, Katherine Fry died in prison after being force fed while on hunger strike. Mahatma Gandhi was released from prison on four occasions because the British were afraid that he would die in custody and ruin their reputation in the world. Irish Republican Bobby Sands died after being on hunger strike for 66 days. Suffragette Alice Paul survived being force fed in Virginia while on hunger strike.
Today, Lieutenant Dan Choi and Captain James Pietrangelo ended their hunger strike. They have only been at it for seven days. These people above were, when they started their hunger strikes, pretty famous. Lt. Choi and Captain Pietrangelo are not famous. They were not very effective. They do not appear to have been joined by very many people, if any, in their hunger strike. What is more, this also goes against what they stated. They demanded that President Obama do certain things before they would so much as touch a drop of food. Instead, they are already eating.
Hunger strikes are only just so effective. Usually, you have to be pretty high profile or your cause pretty high profile for it to actually work.
According to Lieutenant Choi’s website:
The fast of the past seven days has been a success because people have been educated to the use of fasting as a tool to bring attention to a set of clear political and social demands.
Tonight, we will end the fast knowing that the inadequacies of the ‘compromise’ to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are well known. Our quest to end the discharges, stop the insulting study, and institute a non-discrimination policy is not over. In the coming weeks, we will prepare to resume our fast and will provide many ways for those who believe in uncompromising justice to join us.
On a personal note, we have learned a great deal about the proper planning involved in fasting. We appreciate the concerns that many have expressed. When this fast is resumed, we will be using the proper safeguards to ensure our health is properly attended to. Everyone that considers fasting for an extended period of time must also take proper precautions.
Before Lt. Choi went into his fast, we already knew that the compromise was inadequate. We already knew it was not enough. People who supported it knew it was not enough, but just a start. Many people opposed it, very vocally. This hunger strike accomplished nothing.
Proper preparation for a continued hunger strike might include actually showing a live feed, or maybe making sure that the large media outlets know that it is going on. Of course, some within the media are saying that they just are not interested in covering Choi and his stunts any more. Proper preparation might also include a nice map of the nearest burger joint.
It is time for real action on amending the repeal of DADT like getting the military leaders to be more supportive of our rights through helping them and supporting the services.