Hunger strike Fasting as protest Hunger striking Self-starvation
Refusing to eat in order to bring pressure to bear on other individuals or institutions, either to recognize the justice of a cause, the injustice of a social group of government or to liberate the person fasting from prison. The hunger strike is thus normally used to protest at the individual's own condition or the social or moral condition of others. The intent is that public knowledge of the hunger strike will humiliate others or bring attention to grievances.
The hunger strike probably was first used by exiles and political prisoners of Czarist Russia, and is still used by prisoners of conscience in the former USSR and elsewhere to draw attention to their cause. It was used by English and American suffragettes. Gandhi used it as an act of penance for the failures of his followers, as a protest against English authority and as a way of forcing the Indian people to accept his proposals. Several IRA prisoners in Northern Ireland have used hunger strikes for political purposes, even starving to death.
Self-starvation leaves to others the responsibility of actually making the change happen and is therefore futile.
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