martes, 5 de marzo de 2013

The Hunger Strike .

  • Written by  Itsmania Pineda Platero 
    Oh, by the way... Itsmania has been nominated by for the Netizen Prize -- sponsored by Reporters Without Borders and Google -- for her work to fight against government censorship, particularly as it relates to freedom of expression online. Please consider voting for her at
A hunger strike is a tool for fighting against violence. It consists of depriving oneself of any type of nutrition in order to reclaim certain rights that have been denied and do away with certain laws or norms that the hunger striker considers illegitimate. A hunger strike can have specific duration or can be unlimited. In the case of the latter, the final outcome would be death from starvation, which would occur 60 to 90 days from the start of the strike. But perhaps some people do know what it is to feel hunger, and so for that reason they cannot understand those who go on hunger strikes or the causes for which they strike. Those of us who are familiar with hunger, we recognize it when we feel it in our stomach. When we experiment with hunger, generally it is not a problem to eliminate it -- assuming, of course, we're able to find something to eat.
 But for many Hondurans, hunger is interminable; it produces cramps in the stomach, back pains, and headaches... your throat has to work harder to swallow saliva. It causes anxiety, insomnia, and it keeps you in a state of anger; you want to forget that it exists. But when hunger turns into pain, you also feel it deeply in your heart. Your heart beats more rapidly. At nights, you want to cry. And when the pain overwhelms you, you get dizzy and start to hallucinate, and you are no longer able to think clearly. Then the pain hits you in your very soul. Your soul feels, it discerns, and it warns. And then your mind begins to plot strange things. For those who never experience hunger, these plots are called "criminal acts".

You steal a chicken, then a cell phone. Since you do not wish to have the hunger pains again, you seek drugs to help you numb yourself. You wish to stop living in poverty, and you start to desire more than you have. Later, you go out and purchase a plasma TV, a laptop computer... so you can be like everyone else. Others might think about possessing a gun... so you can eat more... or a car, even if it means stealing it. Some might think this is not enough and that they have to hurry up and acquire lots of money, hire people to drive you around, or perhaps recruit others to do your bidding and guarantee that one additional tortilla.

Little by little, hunger enables you to get ahead. Many, though, will end up in prison because of that one chicken.

Yet, others will never go to prison because of the money they inherited from their families. Even though they  were so hungry that they consumed everyone else's food, they are blessed because justice never seems to touch them. People look up to them because they are important men in society. These are men who live and can never satisfy their hunger for power. They become blinded, they don't listen, they're unable to smell, they no longer feel pain, they don't converse. They only know how to give orders.

These men will live out their lives crushing those who hunger and thirst for justice. That  hunger, as I said, first manifests itself as pain, then... death. (3/5/13) (image courtesy Internet)

Note: The author is a journalist, blogger, and human rights activist. She is the founder of a human rights group in Honduras called Xibalba known for its work with youth who have become members of gangs. Itsmania Pineda Platero has been nominated for the annual Netizen Prize, sponsored by Reporters Without Borders and Google, for her work to fight against government censorship, particularly as it relates to freedom of expression online.

Editor's Note: Teachers in Honduras sometimes go on hunger strikes to protest government policies or inaction with regard to their demands for payment of their salaries, or because they've been suspended for striking for payment of their salaries. There was a hunger strike by teachers in September 2008. There was another one in May 2011. Parents of students who are unable to attend school because of the teacher strikes also go on hunger strikes. One of these occurred in May 2010.

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