I can think of only a few ways of dying that I would never want to experience, starvation is one of them. There are people in this world who believe so strongly that something is true that they are wiling to do just that. Throughout this peaceful means of protest; most just ask for other to listen or look to see if what they are dying for is truth. They are shouting as loud as any human possibly can. This is the story of many, but in particular, one such man.
Cannibalization is what the body resorts to in starvation survival mode.
The body starts to break down tissue for energy. Quickly consuming fat and muscle mass to convert into the energy needed to run the organ systems that are vital to maintain human life.
As the vitamin levels in the human body fade and become deficient, a host of diseases start to appear.
These range from scurvy, Beriberi (sailor’s asthma), or even fungus on the underside of the esophagus. Swallowing becomes very painful; usually followed by the breakdown of either the cardiovascular or nervous systems.
Waking at night with a severe shortness of breath, swelling of the legs, or partial paralysis are all common symptoms that occur from these diseases. Irregular ministration can occur in women.
Interaction with the surrounding world greatly diminishes; but reality is often stark.
Imagine being so weak you cannot sense thirst; what must that feel like in your mind. Despair?
Hunger Strike Activists or Martyrs?
A 42 year old Cuban plumber and brick layer; Orlando Zapata Tamayo died February 24, 2010. He was protesting communist government abuses; much like the protester before him.
Pedro Luis Boitel was only 34 when he died of starvation. He was a young poet and a student leader in 1972. After twelve years in Havana prison, subject to torture; he spent 57 days in protest before he died.
Eleven people have died, as a result of starvation since 1959. All of these people were against the Cuban government that is still in power today. They insisted that there were widespread corruption and human rights abuses.
As you read this article, there is a man voluntarily starving to death, because he believes so strongly that people of Cuba are being abused by the unelected communist dictatorship.
Cuba is a prison state much like North Korea; and the ill-fated Soviet bloc behind the (torn down) Berlin Wall, to this very day. For most of the current dictatorships history (Jan. 1, 1959-present), travel for citizens of Cuba has been restricted to those who acquire a white card; which is an extremely difficult and lengthy process.
Cuba to this day has a number of “political prisoners” as well, or “prisoners of conscience” as they are called.
What is a “Prisoner of Conscience?”
Cuba designates prisoners of conscience as mercenaries sympathetic to the United States.
Amnesty International coined this term in the early 1960’s.
They define it as anyone imprisoned because of their race, religion, color, language, sexual orientation, belief or lifestyle so long as they have not used or advocated violence.
It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and or persecuted for the non-violent expression of the conscientiously-held beliefs.
Cuban “dissident” Guillermo Farinas
July 3rd, 2010 Cuba warned on Saturday that hunger striker and prisoner of conscience was in danger of dying from a blood clot in his neck.
They also reported that he has reached the limits of medical treatment; after 4 months (129 days) without food.
Guillermo Farinas is demanding the Cuban government release tortured and ailing prisoners.
Guillermo fought on the communist side in one of the longest conflicts of the Cold War; the Angolan Civil War. He won medals and became a Doctor of Psychology and a freelance journalist when he returned to Cuba.
In 1995 he was sent to jail after blowing the whistle on corrupt activities of the hospital board.
Unlike Orlando Zapata Tamayo or those people before him, Farinas is not in prison.
Dying So That Others Will Listen
All people of this world that have chosen to die from starvation simply wanted someone to listen.
How strong do you have to believe something is the truth to die for it?
Go back and reread the first portion of this article and then think of something you can do to help this person be heard. They are willing to suffer a slow death filled with pain and horror beyond reason, for what they believe in.
Guillermo Farinas is shouting as loud as he can; I hope you’ve beenlistening.