Why the Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strikes Probably Won’t Work

By all accounts, a hunger strike is not something you want to be doing. Most people need about 1,200 calories daily to keep their organs functioning. Getting dramatically less than that for days at a time can lead to things like chronic diarrhea, cracking skin, breaking nails and mental fogginess. When things get particularly grim, you’re force fed — a process that involves being strapped down and pumped full of liquid nutritional supplement through your nose.

Still, the grueling form of protest is a popular tactic for prisoners who may have few other options. A massive, months-long hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay prison continues to grow as prisoners protest both a handful of specific injustices, such as the searching of Korans, as well as the seeming endlessness of their captivity. On Monday, activists and relatives of around 90 Yemeni detainees held in Guantanamo protested outside the U.S. embassy in Sanaa to demand the prisoners’ release.

Olga Khazan

The Atlantic, United States

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