Wondering if hunger strikes are really effective.

@stary1 (6622)
United States
December 10, 2011 2:54pm CST
I was reading a discussion on hunger strikes. It seems to me they would not be productive and actually can be physically harmful. I wonder if it ever really made a difference. Why would ones 'enemies' care if a person starved themselves? The only good example I can think of is Gandhi and I need to read up on the reasons why his fast was effective. I am thinking it was a personal spiritual journey for him as opposed to a means to achieve something?
2 people like this
12 responses
• India
11 Dec 11
Hunger strikes can be first of all derive credibility when the leader & the followers are people with credibility, are honest and are truthful. Gandhiji's hunger strikes commanded such force because his whole movement was on the principle of satyagraha [pursuit of truth & by truthful means]. In as much as they are expected to impact the conscience of the wrong doers and when the credibility of those undertaking it are beyond reproach, hunger strikes still have relevance. In India even today, there is at least one true Gandhian who is demonstrating that hunger strikes are useful & effective.
@stary1 (6622)
• United States
16 Dec 11
Pushhyarag2000 ..Still I do not understand WHY...why does it stir the conscience if one disagrees with the views of the person on the hunger strike. As I said,,Gandhi's fast in my opinion was more a spiritual personal journey undertaken for himself rather than to make others feel 'guilty'
• India
17 Dec 11
Most hunger strikes of Gandhiji we know of stary, were prompted by some unfavorable measure of the British. Though his approach had a spiritual base. His hunger strikes were a crusade for a cause always.
@mohkanari (1957)
• India
11 Dec 11
It was Gandhiji who used fasting as a weapon to achieve the neglected humanitarian privileges. He applied it at first in S Africa to fight against " Apartheid" and then applied in Indian freedom fight. As indicated by yourself hunger strike is affective only in a civilized society. I don't think a cruel autocrat would be affected by such modes of non violent strikes or campaigns.
@stary1 (6622)
• United States
16 Dec 11
mohkanari That is a very good point...
• Philippines
11 Dec 11
Not all hunger strikes will work but some headway is likely to be achieved from establishing it. For as long as the cause is valid, I don't see how it could fail. Just have a look at the example shown at the link. It was an 8-day hunger strike until some measure took effect. Not worth for the stomach, but theres the power to change ways. http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-2417-haiti-education-the-ueh-ready-to-ease-sanctions-under-certain-conditions.html
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@stary1 (6622)
• United States
13 Dec 11
cowboyofhell Thanks...I haven't seen direct action achieveed like this from a hunger strike...
@enelym001 (8333)
• Philippines
11 Dec 11
I was also wondering about it. The ones who will suffer are those that are part of these strikes. And enemies wouldn't care at all. It's not their stomach who will feel those crumps and hunger anyway. So I don't think that doing this will make their enemies come to them and give them food and tell them to stop it.
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@stary1 (6622)
• United States
11 Dec 11
enelym001..Exactly! The only other thought is to bring attention? to the issue and having others who are sympathetic to the cause, join the movement..Still it seems there must be a better way than starving...frankly with some I don't have sympathy for them..I think they are just hurting themselves...Thanks..
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@Hatley (154720)
• Garden Grove, California
10 Dec 11
hi stary1 good discussion as I have often wondered if any good came from a hunger strike at all. Mostly the strikers just suffer nothing is changed and everybody just quits after awhile. with Gandhi It must have been a personal spiritual journey with him but I really do not know much about him although in high school I am sure we studied about him but that was a lifetime ago for me.
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@djbtol (5501)
• United States
11 Dec 11
I hope they are not effective. Every time I hear someone threaten to go on a hunger strike, I say good! More food available for others. A hunger strike is like the screaming two year old on the floor in the toy store screaming his lungs off. He is determined to get what he wants, and that is all he cares about.
1 person likes this
• China
11 Dec 11
I think whether hunger strike is effective or not depends on who do it,so to speak,if they are noted public figures that have a greater social impact,The authorities are unlikely to let them die of hunger,or else it may cause social unrest.
1 person likes this
@lampar (7597)
• United States
11 Dec 11
Hunger striker is not so much aimed at making the ruling political establishment/elites feel sorry about his empty stomach or guilty about he will suffer from acid indigestion of his intestine tissues. It is mainly use as a 'non violent' form of protest for a cause/issue that the protestor feel passionate personally, it is a non violent method that the protester feel can achieve his goal without causing harm to other as well as the establishment, it is a form of passive resistances. Whether it is effective or not very much depend on the conscience of the masses or his own fellow country men and women view on the agenda he is protesting about and his way of achieving his goal.
1 person likes this
@lampar (7597)
• United States
11 Dec 11
Hunger striker is not so much aimed at making the ruling political establishment/elites feel sorry about his empty stomach or guilty about he will suffer from acid indigestion of his intestine tissues. It is mainly use as a 'non violent' form of protest for a cause/issue that the protestor feel passionate personally, it is a non violent method that the protester feel can achieve his goal without causing harm to other as well as the establishment, it is a form of passive resistances. Whether it is effective or not very much depend on the conscience of the masses or his own fellow country men and women view on the agenda he is protesting about and his way of achieving his goal.
@stary1 (6622)
• United States
13 Dec 11
lampar So you are saying the hunger strike is mainly to draw attention and recieve sympathy from the masses by appealing to their better selves?
@celticeagle (113004)
• Boise, Idaho
12 Dec 11
I think of Ghandi also. I believe that the reason hunger strikes are used is because it is that it is not threatening. They don't want to be violent. I agree that it was a personal spiritual journey for him as opposed to a means to achieve something. It is a different approach.
@srjac0902 (1170)
• Italy
12 Dec 11
Fasting and hunger are two distinct realities. When you do hunger strike, it has great value becuse the persons who are responsible feel for you and they will give up. Fasting has great spiritual value. You will gain great moral strength and you will win against any kind of challenge.
@bagarad (7651)
• Paso Robles, California
12 Dec 11
I think some hunger strikers in the USA are force-fed if they are in jail. I think I've heard of such cases, but don't have memory of specific cases. All I know about these strikes is they usually get attention in the press. I don't know if they usually bring about the desired change.