Palestinian prisoners use hunger as weapon for freedom
PETALING JAYA - Using their bodies as weapons, Palestinian prisoners would launch hunger strikes in Israeli prisons against Israeli occupation.
This was how author Puan Sri Norma Hashim described the sacrifice made by the prisoners to gain freedom for Palestine.
Norma who wrote books on the Palestinians’ struggles entitled “The Prisoners’ Diaries”, “Dreaming of Freedom - Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak” and “A Shared Struggle” said the hunger strike situation now compared to 10 years ago when she wrote her first book was much worse.
“The reason they (the prisoners) went on hunger strikes was because it was the only weapon they had,” she said in an interview with Sinar Daily on its Fireside Chat programme.
Having no tanks and no army, she said the prisoners were in a battle alone in the face of an oppressive machine.
She said the Zionists could launch military attacks on Palestinians without mercy and would apprehend those who were vocal and spoke out about their rights.
However, she said the prisoners would be released once the situation became uncontrollable.
“At the stage where they (Israeli forces) think the prisoners would not last very long, they will say okay. They did not want the prisoners to die," she said.
Norma said despite the chances of being released after the hunger strike, there was a possibility for them to be arrested again.
Sharing about how she started to write her books on Palestinian prisoners, Norma said in 2012, she heard many moving stories about it and thought it was a good idea to publish them.
"I have not heard about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails before and I think at that time in 2012 probably most parts of world had not even heard about the issue, yet every Palestinian family you meet have been affected by this.
"Since 1967 there have been about 700,000 Palestinians arrested and imprisoned and one of the reasons they were in prison was to just intimidate them to give up the resistance for freedom," she said.
Norma's first book, “The Prisoner's Diaries” was launched by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and it was aligned with her intention to gain more awareness from the public on what was happening in Palestine.
She said she knew Dr Mahathir was famous worldwide for standing up for Palestine and not afraid to speak up against the western power.
“I went to see him (Dr Mahathir) in 2013, he was not the prime minister then. I came with the draft of the story and he was also unaware of issue of prisoners and he was moved by the stories,” she said.
On the awareness of the Gaza attacks, Norma said Malaysians’ were generally sympathetic.
However, she suggested educating the young people more on the matter as it was an important issue worldwide.