Why hunger strikes?

Hello Everyone,
I was reading an article today: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/virginia-safety-joseph-williams-hunger-strike-university-workers-173337610.html

The article was about a football player on a hunger strike. I didn’t make it through the whole article before I went “meh” and clicked out. The question I have is why would anyone go on a hunger strike. I mean, what is the point? If you want to kill yourself by not eating why should anyone care or what in the world do you expect to change?

I apologize if I seem as uncaring or anything but really, I am supposed to care about an issue because you refuse to shove tasty Cheetos down your gullet?

I’ve often wondered this myself. I read about hunger strikes once in a while, but they generally do not affect me personally.

My closest experience is watching the film Gandhi. He went on hunger strikes and an entire nation responded (according to the film).

Like the OP, I don’t mean this thought to be insensitive, but…isn’t a hunger strike incredibly egocentric?

A study of hunger strikes throughout history would be very interesting and informative.

‘Martyrdom’ can be powerfully politically effective.

1981 Irish hunger strike. The reason behind it may seem trivial, but the effect of the action was vast, including one of the strikers being elected to the British parliament while still in jail. Scroll down to ‘Consequences’.

That’s the point - if you are famous enough and beloved enough, your enemies may genuinely fear what happens when you die far worse than when you are alive. Take Gandhi, who preached ahimsa, or non-violence. If he had died, the country would have erupted in civil war and many would have died. By this point the Brits were reluctant at best and (I think) many of them no longer thought of the Indians as savages. So some of them were on his side, as well. If he had died, he would have been a martyr and India would have burned.

If no one cares about you, no point in a hunger strike!

^ (That’s a high five.) When all other power/control has been taken away from you, simply closing your mouth is your last bastion of dignity.

I really get it when a high profile figure decides to go on a hunger strike and become possibly a martyr, I can see why it could be an effective tool against a government. Perhaps I should have been more specific in my question. The story I linked to in my OP is a obscure kid threatening a hunger strike that for almost all of us is a non-issue (not meaning the issue itself you wouldn’t have a position on, but that what he is trying to bring attention to is something that won’t affect anyone but that little circle) so why choose hunger strike?

Maybe old age has made me harder than I should be, but if you want to kill yourself by depriving yourself of food, go right ahead. Your sacrifice will more than likely be in vain as except those that know you, no one is going to really care. Why not write a letter to the editor, picket outside of the building, call a radio show … something, anything but this insanity. Does he really think that besides his circle of friends anyone is going to rally around his cause because he won’t eat? I just don’t get it and thanks for the replies. I do agree that for a national figure, a hunger strike might prove quite effective. But I view this particular one as nothing more than a waste of time.

Hunger strikes always make me think of the film “Blazing Saddles.” The scene where Cleavon Little holds a gun to his own neck and says, “Hold it! Next man makes a move, the nigger gets it!” And the dumbasses fall for it.

Thanks for reminding me of that scene. I just snarfed and blew diet coke all over the keyboard! :smiley: