"Don’t wait until we’re in body bags": Two Palestinian hunger strikers’ "final distress call"
Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah, 3rd June 2012
Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi who have been on hunger strike for 78 and 59 days respectively issued the following urgent distress call from Israel’s Ramle prison today. It was published by Addameer on its Facebook page in Arabic and rush-translated by The Electronic Intifada:
The message of prisoners Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi from inside prison
In the name of God the Compassionate and Merciful…
To the masses of Palestine, who cling to the land, who grip as if to hot coals, to all the revolutionaries and freedom loving people in the world who stood by our cause and our victory throughout history; To those who always extended to us their steadfastness and fortitude in the face of adversity, our fellow Arabs and Muslims, and freedom loving people of the world;
To the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazin), and to the the brother Minister of Prisoner and Ex-Prisoner Affairs Mr. Issa Qaraqe, and to the honorable freedom fighter Qaddoura Faris, president of the Prisoners’ Club, and to national and Islamic parties and movements:
This is an urgent and final distress call from captivity, slow and programmed death inside the cells of so-called Ramle Prison hospital, that you know that your sons and brothers are still struggling against death and you pay no attention to them and do not remember their cause – as if, after the end of the general strike all the demands of the prisoners were met.
We are still here, continuing our open-ended hunger strike and that battle has not ended despite 78 days of strike for one of us, and 59 days for the other.
Regretfully, we thought that you would support us in our hunger strike, but instead you have stood on our wounds and our pain.
From here, we cry out to you, to our brothers, to dignified people, that you bear your responsibility, for after God, we have no one but you and the freedom loving people of the world to bring victory to our cause.
Second: As the hunger strike continues to erode our bodies and sap what is left of our strength, we cry out to you to help us in our battle on every level and field, local, regional and international, especially in the media, and especially Palestinian television which represents the Palestinian people.
And also in the newspapers, radio and electronic media, so that our voices can reach the freedom loving people of the world and expose this entity, and for the victory of our cause.
We say: there is still enough time and the support that comes late is better than that which does not come at all. It is better that you receive us alive and victorious rather than as lifeless bodies in black bags.
Therefore we two hunger strikers remain on our strike, Mahmoud Sarsak who has endured 78 days, and Sheikh Akram Rikhawi who has endured 59 days and was already ill, having spent 8 years in Ramle Prison clinic suffering from illnesses, and who now struggles against death.
We inform you that we will remain on our strike until all our demands are met and we will not submit to the demands of the Prison Service regardless of what we suffer in restrictions, provocations, and bargaining, and we will not accept promises and half-measures despite the deterioration of our health and our entry into difficult and dangerous situations, especially since we have lost more than 25kg and 18kg.
Our people, our leaders in Gaza, in the West Bank and outside, and freedom loving people of the world, we cry out to you, and to all people in the world who believe in the justice of our cause: do not abandon us to the vindictive hands of the jailers to take what they want from our frail bodies.
You are the ones able to support us for victory in our battle.
Your brothers who remain on hunger strike until victory or martyrdom,