On the occasion of the Palestinian prisoners’ ongoing hunger strike, we remind readers that persons incarcerated and deprived of their freedom also have the human right to adequate housing. Their steadfastness is inextricable from the wider struggle of the Palestinian people to defend and recover their land from foreign colonization. HLRN republishes here the following statement from Palestinian political prisoner Marwan Barghouti on day 12 of hunger strike for dignity and freedom.
I have been through the widely known spectrum of emotions throughout my life. Different moments lead me to feel different things some easy some difficult, but all overcome. However, there is something about the feeling of helplessness that is overpowering. It leaves you feeling like you’ve tightened the knot too hard and there is very few ways out, if any.
The Palestinian hunger strike taking place right now has left me utterly helpless. While the road for Palestinian self-determination and the conflict in its essence is rather complex leaving you with questions of love and hate, life and death, betrayals and false promises. It leaves you above all with questions about humanity. Over the past five decades 800,000 Palestinians (roughly 40% of Palestine’s male population and 20% of the overall population have been arrested). Many of those suffered from torture, degrading treatment, and medical negligence.
Over 1500 Palestinian political prisoners are currently on a hunger strike to demand basic human rights. These rights consist of installing a public telephone, reinstating bi-monthly family visits, allowing for adequate medical care, end open ended solitary confinement, among many others. All of which are rights granted to prisoners worldwide under international law.
I could write a brief history recap on the conflict, but in all honesty there is plenty out there for one to educate themselves about the topic without bias and with reason. This is why I will refrain from making a case for these prisoners simply because they already have the strongest case, the case of being human and wanting to be treated as one.
It is extremely dangerous that as a people we have reached a point where we are unable to set aside our ego and our internal and external biases to a degree where we cannot call out for humanity when it has been deeply compromised.
I therefore ask you to hold my hand and untie that knot with me. I ask you to please put aside 5 minutes to participate in the salt and water challenge and show solidarity with the prisoners on strike. I ask you that if life taught you anything, it would be that healing and peace can only begin with acknowledgment of wrongs committed.
I ask you to make humanity no longer a road less travelled.
Thank you a million times again.
Photo on front page: Palestinian prisoners walk at the yard of Megiddo, inside Israeli. Source: AFP. Graphic on this page: Cartoon by Carlos Latuff on the occasion of the 2011 Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike.