Why Mus­lims should sup­port Dig­nity Strike

New Straits Times - - Letters -

TO­DAY is the third day of Ra­madan. Mus­lims in many parts of the world have be­gun their month-long fast. Most of them are not aware that 1,500 Pales­tinian pris­on­ers in Is­raeli jails are on a hunger strike that be­gan al­most six weeks ago.

These pris­on­ers have un­der­taken a hunger strike to protest the de­nial of ba­sic hu­man rights in prison. When they be­gan their strike, they were only drink­ing salt wa­ter to sur­vive.

It is re­ported that many have stopped drink­ing wa­ter al­to­gether. Their health is de­te­ri­o­rat­ing rapidly. They are in dire straits.

Their hunger strike is not just about prison con­di­tions.

In a larger sense, it is against the oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tine and the op­pres­sion and in­jus­tice that have oc­curred through the decades.

It is a strike for lib­er­a­tion from Is­raeli dom­i­na­tion. It is a strike for hu­man dig­nity. This is why the strike has been de­scribed as the Dig­nity Strike.

The world has to all in­tents and pur­poses ig­nored this mass strike partly be­cause the me­dia, both main­stream and al­ter­na­tive, has given so lit­tle cov­er­age to it. It is a re­flec­tion of Zion­ist power over the global me­dia.

Faced with this sit­u­a­tion, civil so­ci­ety groups with a con­science should speak up. As more and more groups and in­di­vid­u­als take a stand, the Is­raeli author­i­ties will be forced to re­spond.

By giv­ing sup­port to the Dig­nity Strike, those of us who are fast­ing will be en­hanc­ing the mean­ing of our own fast. For our fast is also about dig­nity and jus­tice. It is not just Ra­madan that car­ries this mean­ing. In the Jewish tra­di­tion, ex­em­pli­fied by the teach­ings of Prophet Isa­iah, fast­ing is also about jus­tice.

DR CHAN­DRA MUZAFFAR

Pres­i­dent, In­ter­na­tional Move­ment for a Just World

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