Tag Archives: hunger strike

Fasting to end sanctions that kill children

My friend, Sally-Alice Thompson, is a long-time peace activist. She’s a retired WWII Navy veteran approaching 96 years old. So she’s seen a lot in her day, and she’s always been action-oriented.

She has belted out protest tunes with the Raging Grannies; picked up her walking stick in 2014 and walked 13 days from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to spur action to get money out of politics; traveled 450 miles by foot and by bus with a group of Americans and Soviet citizens in 1987 from what was then Leningrad to Moscow to promote peace and nuclear disarmament; walked nine months from LA to DC in the Great Peace March against nuclear weapons; started the Albuquerque chapter of Veterans for Peace along with her husband, a former state legislator and also a veteran; was instrumental in founding and supporting the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center; and has taught school, written books, and sheltered refugees in her home. And this only skims the surface of what makes Sally-Alice tick.

Sally Alice 1

Sally-Alice walking to Santa Fe in 2014 (photo credit Santa Fe Reporter)

So when it became clear that US sanctions against Yemen, Iran, Haiti, Venezuela, Gaza and elsewhere were killing hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of children, Sally-Alice thought “someone should really do something to end this horrific foreign policy of sanctions against the most vulnerable.” Then she thought “I’m someone, and I can do something!”  

Sally-Alice launched her hunger strike to raise the public’s awareness. She started her Fasting Against Sanctions and Sieges (FASS) on June 16 in Albuquerque, NM. She’s asking people who support her to sign her petition, here.

“I am fasting because I empathize with the many hungry children of the world, so I am joining them in their suffering. I am outraged that our country is engaging in sanctions and sieges that result in starvation of babies and children. I am profoundly saddened that my government interferes in the affairs of other countries, refusing to acknowledge their sovereignty and to respect their dignity.

I especially grieve for the children. I grieve for the children of Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran, who are suffering because of the illegal sanctions imposed on those sovereign nations. I grieve for the hungry children of Gaza and Yemen, children who are hungry because of my country’s support for immoral sieges that deliberately prevent food from entering the places where they live.

I am almost 96 years old. The short remainder of my life is inconsequential. The remainder of the lives of those children may be very important. If allowed to develop normally, who knows what they may become? Are we depriving the world of a future great composer? Or maybe a talented playwright? One can only speculate, because they’re dying of starvation.

Those children have a right to live!

Permitting our country to continue down this road of genocide is completely unacceptable. So I have decide that instead of asking, ”Why doesn’t somebody do something about it?” I looked in the mirror and said, “You’re somebody, do something.”

I invite anyone who shares these feelings to join me in my fast, by skipping a meal or fasting for a day or longer. I would like to know and thank anyone who joins me.  PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE MY PETITION here.

Please contact me at sally-aliceanddon@juno.com. I hope this can start a movement to eliminate sanctions and sieges.

Sally-Alice explains her reason for fasting on this 20-minute Latitude Adjustment podcast, here.  She’s my hero.

Center for Peace and Justice celebrates 35th anniversary

Sally-Alice Thompson 2019 – photo credit Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal

 

3 Comments

Filed under Hunger Strike, People, Uncategorized, US Policy, Video

Football diplomacy

Saturday night promises to be a very lively affair.  I’m told television sets in every city, in every country in Europe will be turned to the European Football Cup Championship. My friends and I have already staked out the bar where we will watch the game in the Sultanahmet District in the Old City of Istanbul.

Football has become an explosive issue in the Middle East thanks to Israel’s detention and incarceration of Mahmoud Sarsak, the Palestinian football star.

Mahmoud Sarsak's relatives gather around poster

As he was leaving Gaza in July 2009 on his way to the West Bank to play football, Israeli officials arrested Sarsak and held him for the next THREE YEARS without formal charges being filed against him.  Israel claimed he was linked to the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, which Sarsak denied.  Perhaps Israel just wanted to side-line a promising athlete’s career.  That’s one way to beat the opposition.

Stadium in Gaza

Stadium in Gaza

Another way to beat them is to destroy the opposition’s stadium so they become demoralized and have no place to practice, as Israel did in November 2012 during their 8-day bombardment in Gaza.

Stadium in Gaza destroyed by Israel in November 2012.

Stadium in Gaza destroyed by Israel in Nov. 2012.

Stadium in Gaza destroyed by Israel in November 2012.

Stadium in Gaza destroyed by Israel in Nov. 2012.

Stadium in Gaza destroyed by Israel in November 2012.

Stadium in Gaza destroyed by Israel in Nov. 2012.

Sarsak was finally released in July 2012 after a three-month hunger strike during which he lost nearly 1/2 of his normal body weight. Check out this video of his release.

The Under-21 Football Tournament is scheduled to be held in Israel in early June 2013.  There is a growing chorus of opposition urging officials to move the tournament out of Israel.  Sarsak has added his voice to this campaign too.

So long as Israel can detain Palestinians without charge indefinitely, and not be held accountable, I think the world should boycott Israel.

And I think the Palestinians should buy some air time on the major networks Saturday night when all of those eyeballs are glued to their sets.

Leave a comment

Filed under Football - Soccer, Gaza, Israel, People