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A Hunger-Striker's Manifesto

by Gerald Nicholas

Translated by Peter Zohrab in 2006 from the French version


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Dear friend, dearest brother in misfortune -- in our misfortune and suffering we are all united friends in the same struggle, the struggle for justice and respect for our inalienable right to live in peace, to prosper freely, and above all our right to be full-time fathers, and not just crude cash-dispensers.

Today's the ninth day since I willingly agreed to test my courage and to tolerate the intolerable. For nine days I have resisted hunger, the cold which pierced my tired, emaciated body to the bone, the rain, the wind which had fun blowing my fortunes this way and that, the constant rain of these last few days -- not to mention the unwanted nocturnal visits of people who knew nothing and cared less about the way we all suffer...

By my sacrifice I have brought our struggle a huge step forward. Those who did not know us yesterday can not deny our existence today, can not avoid noticing what we suffer every day -- in a society in which attitudes to fathers and men have remained fossilised in a distant past, far from current reality -- injustice and oppression can not now be disguised.

On this very day, around two in the afternoon, the Justice Minister will have our demands on his desk. We can not dictate what he feels or thinks. All we can do is pray and hope that, in his soul and in his conscience, he makes the right decision, which is to agree to our demands. In order to do this, he will have to have the same courage that I have had over these nine days, so that he will be able to resist the pressure groups which will want to divert his attention away from the truth and the harsh reality of the injustice we have been living through and suffering through for too long now.

To the extent that the Justice Minister decides to ignore our shouts, for political reasons, his twilight will come one day, and on that day he will be judged by history -- and history will judge him badly. But our quest for justice must not stop today or tomorrow, it must continue to grow and mature. We will have to draw on our inner strength and courage and continue to spread our just cause among the public, and to promote tirelessly our movement of solidarity and mutual assistance. We must develop in us men a culture of fellowship and struggle, if we want to change things one day.

Some time ago, women of our mothers' generation were unjustly treated by our society, which was in the grip of a ludicrous and unreasonable form of machismo -- women weren't people -- and they fought tooth and nail and with the greatest courage to assert their rights and their fully-human status. Their struggle at that time was just and honourable, like our men's and fathers' struggle today. So why do we men (that includes women) refuse to learn from our past errors ? Why do we have to tirelessly repeat the same mistakes ? Why has injustice today turned on us men and fathers ? Why does our society refuse to understand that we men have evolved in our customs and attitudes, we have become very different men and especially fathers, diametrically opposed to what our ancetors were. We have, on the whole, become fathers who love our children like mothers. Women and men in our modern 21st century society have become career people, having to agree to share all the family tasks -- even the most thankless ones.

Too often, our couples can't resist the pressures and stress of daily life -- then you have separation or divorce, of course, and for some of us the start of a long, interminable nightmare... Why can't we do what we have to do in peace and in good spirit ? If we have failed in our life as a couple, that doesn't mean also failing in our separation process, creating in this way a double misfortune for those of us who have children...

My friends, I tell you: our fight will be long and arduous. If we retire from the battlefield before final victory, you can be sure that our children and our children's children will have to suffer the same martyrdom as we suffer today, because we didn't have the courage or determination to take our struggle to its final conclusion... Be aware that the war is not lost until the last cannons have fallen silent, as the great Napoleon Bonaparte said. Be aware also that no one is truly free while and as long as we are not all free...




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

2 July 2015