28 days is the length Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan went on his first hunger strike in prison, from 25 May to 21 June 2005, to protest against maltreatment and the authorities inability to protect him.
On day 28, the prison authorities accepted his demands. This strike was notable in that Tarhan was briefly released during it, on 9 June, to go back to his military unit – but on being again given a military order and refusing to follow it, he was recharged and sent back again, where he was subjected again to the same treatment he’d complained of.
Finally, though, they gave him his own cell to protect him from abuse, a TV, his own tea, access to books and mail, and treatment by civilian rather than military physicians. However, upon release Tarhan was again told to serve in the military. When he refused, he was again arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. When the authorities forcibly cut his hair and shaved him, restrained by more than half a dozen people leading to bruises and other damage, he went on another hunger strike, that lasted more than five weeks.
Thankfully for me no prison or army today as most days, further evidence of my privileged life. Just a long hot wonderful day in the scorching spring sunshine, Children’s Day at Emmerentia Dam with my daughter and later also her mom. In the car on the way to the park, Lalie says to me, “Papa, only three more sleeps until you eat again!” So clearly she’s been paying attention.
And then I bump into Karin Slater, renowned documentary filmmaker and African Trailblazer. Having slept only two hours last night trying to fix problems over the phone and email on the demo edit for my doccie in progress State of Emergency?, I was dragging and looking far more gaunt than the hunger action itself has left me, and boy she seemed worried about me. Thank you Karin.
Gwen reports that numerous people last week told her she will never work with them again if she carries on with being part of this action. Read this and get it people, if you are one of them – you’re the same ****s who would have informed on your friends. Screw you and go back to worrying about your own ass, where you belong.
To Gwen’s eternal credit, that is apparently exactly what she told them.
We are holding a press conference at the SABC this Wednesday, details to follow in upcoming blog posts. Please come join us if you at all can.
I invite you again to join us.
All for now.