Washington, D.C./Boujdour, Western Sahara – Ruth McDonough, a US/British citizen, began a hunger strike on Wednesday, May 4, in order to bring attention to human rights abuses occurring in Boujdour, Western Sahara. Dr. Tim Pluta, US/Irish citizen, will be supporting McDonough as caretaker. Both McDonough and Pluta have been guests in the home of the Khaya family since March 15, 2022. Their arrival came on day 482 of an arbitrary detention in which Moroccan agents had periodically broken and entered the Khaya family home, attacked, beaten, and raped Sultana Khaya and her sister, Waara, in front of their 84 year old mother, Mitou. The agents had also destroyed nearly all furniture, cut electrical wires, turned off the water, poisoned the well water, tortured the sisters and injected Sultana with unknown substances, and forcibly prevented visitors entrance to the house.
January 27, 2022/25th Sh’vat 5782, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps, where so many of our ancestors were incarcerated and enslaved, raped and robbed, maimed and murdered. We are an anonymous collective of Jewish New Yorkers who are striking this day, across the five boroughs of NYC/across occupied Lenapehoking, in solidarity with the hunger strikers at Rikers Island and with all who are resisting this genocidal regime. This is a regime which took the lives of 15 fellow New Yorkers last year alone – a number which has continued to rise in the new year. Add that to the 44+ incarcerated people across New York State who perished after becoming infected with COVID in custody. We know a death camp when we see one, and Rikers Island is a death camp.
As soon as media reports emerged regarding a deal between Palestinian prisoner, Hisham Abu Hawash and the Israeli prison authorities, Israeli extremists, led by Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir, angrily the Assaf Harofeh Hospital where Abu Hawash was being held. A Palestinian political activist, Abu Hawash, 41, is a father of five. He was arrested by the Israeli army from his home in the town of Dura near Al-Khalil (Hebron) in October 2020. For the last consecutive 141 days, prior to the agreement, Abu Hawash a hunger strike, which will go down in the history of Palestinian resistance as one of the longest and, arguably, most consequential. Ben-Gvir and other right-wing Israelis were enraged by the government’s to release Abu Hawash on February 26...
The huelga de hambre has been used for thousands of years. It has won many struggles,” said Ana Ramirez, 42, who fasted for 24 days this spring to demand that undocumented people and other excluded workers in New York receive stimulus and unemployment money. “Esther the reina won a battle with the hunger strike.” Ramirez is referring to Queen Esther of the Old Testament’s Book of Esther. The queen and her supporters fasted for three days in advance of going to ask her husband, Persian King Ahasuerus, for permission to have her enemies — who were trying to wipe out all Jews in the empire — killed. She prevailed. Mahatma Gandhi used the hunger strike. So too Cesar Chavez. South African political prisoners hastened the end of the apartheid era with their hunger strike.
On November 3, New York City reached an agreement with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), the union fighting to relieve drivers of thousands of dollars in debt they owe for medallions, the physical permits to operate taxis. According to the NYTWA, the average debt owed on medallions by taxi drivers is $600,000. “Today marks a new dawn, a new beginning for a workforce that has struggled through so much crisis and loss,” said Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of NYTWA, in a statement. “Today, we can say owner-drivers have won real debt relief and can begin to get their lives back. Drivers will no longer be at risk of losing their homes, and no longer be held captive to debt beyond their lifetime.”
Israel agreed on Thursday to release a hunger-striking prisoner in four months after lengthy negotiations. Miqdad Qawasmeh suspended his hunger strike on Thursday after refusing food for 113 days to protest his detention without charge or trial after Israel agreed to release him in February 2022. His victory came after lengthy and arduous negotiations between the leadership of the Hamas prisoners’ group and Israeli authorities. The 24-year-old was the youngest of six Palestinian men who have been refusing food for weeks and months in protest of Israel’s detention of them without charge or trial. Five others are still fighting for their freedom on empty stomachs.
In early November, after 46 days of picketing and 15 days of hunger strike, members of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance won what they deserved all along: a measure of relief from the vast debts incurred when the inflated value of their city-issued medallions crashed in recent years. Under a three-way agreement among the NYTWA, the de Blasio administration, and the city’s largest medallion lender, drivers — who owe, on average, $550,000 each — will see their debt written down to $170,000 and amortized so that monthly payments don’t exceed $1,122. Most important, the city will guarantee each of these rescue loans in the event of default. It was only fair that the city agree to back the loans
On Wednesday, October 20, Palestinians staged a protest at the al-Manara square in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank in solidarity with six prisoners who are on hunger strike against their illegal administrative detention in Israeli jails, reported Al Jazeera. Several Palestinian civil society groups and prisoner rights groups participated in the protest, along with the families of those who are on hunger strike. They called for immediate and unconditional release of the six prisoners and expressed fear about their health. The six prisoners are Kayed Fasfous, on hunger strike for the last 100 days, Miqdad al-Qawasmi (92 days), Alaa al-Araj (76 days), Hisham Abu Hawwash, (66 days), Shadi Abu Aker (58 days) and Ayyad al-Hraimi (28 days). All have suffered deterioration in their health, with the first four prisoners being shifted to nearby hospitals.
Farida is 51 years old. She was born in Belgium. Her entire family has the Belgian nationality. Farida has a steady job. She cleans offices and public buildings, for €6-8 per hour. Her last application for a regularization of her administrative status got rejected and she has received a state-issued order to leave the territory. Kiran fled a civil war in Nepal 16 years ago and applied for asylum in Belgium. While his asylum request was still pending, he got a job that paid €10 an hour. When his asylum claim got rejected, his wage fell to €2.5 an hour. His daughter, born in Belgium, is now five years old and speaks fluent Flemish, which she learned at school. The family submitted five applications to be regularized, they were all rejected.
Old-growth logging protesters on day seven of a hunger strike are calling for an urgent meeting with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy. Brent Eichler, president of Unifor local 950, Zain Haq, a 20-year-old student at SFU, and Evie Mandel, 65, haven’t eaten food in a week but are continuing their strike at 401 Burrard Street in Vancouver. Reached by phone Saturday, Eichler said they were doing OK but very tired from only consuming water, lemon juice, and salt. He said he wasn’t sure how much longer they could continue without suffering adverse health effects. Eichler said they have received a lot of support from young people and those who want a moratorium on logging old-growth forests.
During the early days of the war, when Iman Saleh called her family in Yemen, they would lie to reassure her they were safe. “They would always say, ‘Don’t worry, it’s happening far from us,’” Saleh said. “It felt like I was becoming a burden to them, because now they were trying to make me feel better, on top of trying to survive.” Now, when Saleh calls her family in Yemen, she simply asks how their day is going. For the past six years, the 26-year-old organizer from Detroit has struggled with survivor’s guilt, watching her homeland ravaged by a war between the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition and the Houthi rebels. As a founding member of the Detroit-based Yemeni Liberation Movement, Saleh works to educate and mobilize the Yemeni diaspora for an end to the war.
Texas shrimper, fisherwoman and internationally known environmentalist Diane Wilson is on Day 22 of her hunger strike to gain national solidarity and publicity for pressure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind its permit for big oil to dredge a channel in mercury laden Matagorda Bay, Texas. The dredged channel would allow massive oil tankers into the bay to take on crude oil that will be exported from the U.S. “I am risking my life to stop the reckless destruction of my community. Oil and gas export terminals like the project I am fighting pollute our air, water, and climate — only to pad the pockets of fossil fuel CEOs,” said Diane Wilson. “The Biden Administration needs to stop the dredging and stop oil and gas exports.”
Texas - Seventy-two-year-old, fourth-generation retired shrimper Diane Wilson has been without food for 16 days. Her 1995 red Chevy, nicknamed “Rosie,” has become a mobile campsite, and each morning she posts up on a causeway at the waterfront of Texas’ Lavaca Bay, expending just enough energy to switch out a sign displaying the number of days she’s been on hunger strike and drape a banner off the side of the truck blaring the message: “STOP THE DREDGING. STOP OIL EXPORT.” She hopes her hunger strike will draw enough attention to pressure the Biden administration stop Houston-based oil and gas firm Max Midstream’s plans to invest $360 million to deepen and widen the Matagorda Ship Channel by 2023.
Since March 29, in Washington, D.C., Iman Saleh, age 26, has been on a hunger strike to demand an end to the war in Yemen. She is joined by five others from her group, The Yemeni Liberation Movement. The hunger strikers point out that enforcement of the Saudi Coalition led blockade relies substantially on U.S. weaponry. Saleh decries the prevention of fuel from entering a key port in Yemen’s northern region. “When people think of famine, they wouldn’t consider fuel as contributing to that, but when you’re blocking fuel from entering the main port of a country, you’re essentially crippling the entire infrastructure,” said Saleh “You can’t transport food, you can’t power homes, you can’t run hospitals without fuel.”
Kjipuktuk (Halifax) – After 23 days Jacob Fillmore is ending his hunger strike in support of a temporary clearcutting moratorium on Nova Scotia Crown lands. He made the announcement during a well-attended rally at Province House, the third one in as many weeks. “I am feeling increasingly weaker, especially mentally things are getting harder and harder,” he told an appreciative and grateful crowd. This fight is far from over. As I take a step back folks across the province are stepping up,” he said. “If asking politely doesn’t work, we are not afraid to resort to peaceful nonviolent direct action. When I started my hunger strike, I was in despair. I saw the destruction of the environment happening around me and I could not figure out how to change it.