Death fast as a weapon
To go on a death fast must be something like committing suicide in installments. It cannot be considered a form of individual resistance or uprising. On the contrary even if efforts succeed and the individual agrees to give up depending on when s/he gave it up some acute health problems might be acquired. On the other hand through the suffering and indeed deaths of some death fasters certain impositions might be achieved or the authorities might be forced to compromise on an issue, for example in improving the prison conditions of a terrorist chieftain who himself has never ever been personally involved in such dangerous endeavors.
Is it not the right of the father of a son on death fast to ask why the chieftain never ever since his imprisonment almost 14 years ago went on hunger strike, forget a death fast, for few days and demanded improvement of prison conditions?
The separatist gang and its extension in politics, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), have been calling on families of inmates to join the protest and lend support to their imprisoned beloved ones by going on hunger strike. For God’s sake, did anyone ever hear of members of the family of the separatist chieftain going on hunger strike in support of the imprisoned beast?
It is so unfortunate that death fasts, some already for the past 50 days, are continuing. Perhaps the no-return threshold might be over for some. After 45 days on hunger strike it is known that some death fasts might leave some unrecoverable damage on the body. When and if individual lives become nothing further than bullets to be fired in a war; or when and if individuals become a commodity to be compromised what might be wrong in pushing forward some people like pawns? That’s what the gang and its political extension are demanding, that the government provide house arrest to the chieftain; agree to resume political dialogue; allow Kurdish to become a second education language. What are these? They are just some of the latest demands of the separatist gang. Can the government walk that road while heading to three important elections – local polls, presidential elections and the parliamentary polls – over the next three years? Perhaps dialogue with the gang and other leading Kurdish personalities resumed secretly long ago. Probably we will learn of such developments when some elements in the PKK torpedo the process once again. But, can any government deliver now other “political demands” of the gang?
If death fasts are accepted as a weapon and the Turkish state, with a humanitarian consideration, compromised to bring an end to them death fasts will cease to be just bullets to be fired in the next campaign, but will become the new battle ground.
Yet, something has to be done to bring an end to this immense tragedy in Turkish prisons.