Iran may be positioning itself as the epicenter of the Muslim world, as the place where elite Muslims meet to greet and die, but those who leave don’t always want to go back. In Denmark, five of them, after starving themselves almost to death to make the point, are now looking at the possibility that they will be allowed to stay out of Iran:
After 46 days without food, five Iranians ended their hunger strike outside parliament, when they received word that two of them would have their asylum cases reopened by the Ministry of Integration.
‘It’s fantastic. Now I am going to continue dealing with the other denied asylum cases, one by one, until we can get those changed, too,’ said Leif Bork Hansen, a priest who has taken a personal interest in the cases of Iranians denied asylum in Denmark. ‘Hunger strikes are the most extreme form of democracy, and they work.’
Hardy Hansen, a union foreman who now engages in work for the Union for Peace and Reconciliation, agrees.
‘Hunger strikes work because they put the focus on a single person. The politicians know quite well that they can’t send people back to Iran at this point in time,’ Hardy Hansen explained.
The foreman for the Danish Refugee Board, Bent Ove Jespersen, said that the decision will not lead to any changes in the way Iranian asylum seekers are dealt with.
Shariff Shoukari, one of the two hunger strikers, expressed his relief over the announcement.
‘I hope that I can live and work again in Denmark, just as I have done the last 16 years.’
I’m really glad for these people, although I hope it isn’t a case where, having turned their back on Iran, they nonetheless now attempt to turn Denmark into that same demi paradise they sought to escape.
Although I think this hunger strike turned out well, I’ve never really understood the dynamics of hunger strikes. It’s never struck me as a good way to make a point. Either I agree with the underlying cause (say, Iranian or Cuban dissidents) or I don’t (Gitmo prisoners). The hunger strike doesn’t change my viewpoint, although I’ll admit that, for reasons that are unclear to me, these events always garner a lot of press.
The whole hunger strike dynamic has also been weakened considerably lately, what with Cindy Sheehan’s high calorie hunger strike and the latest Leftist lunacy of fasting for an hour or two to make a point (I can’t find a link for this last one; if you have one, feel free to provide it). Heck, I make that same point every day when I spend an hour or three between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner, protesting the dirty laundry or the sticky kitchen floor I need to wash. When I’m really feeling fractious, I spend a seven hour night refusing all food as I protest the thought of getting up in the morning and making those darn school lunches again.