ACTION ALERT: Hunger Strikers Face Death to Protest US ‘Occupation’ of Czech Republic
May 26, 2008
NonViolence.cz & EuropeForPeace.eu & No Bases Initiative
Jan Bednar's health conditions are deteriorating. He is on his 13th day of hunger strike against the military occupation of the Czech Republic by the United States, part of the Star Wars project. The medical team, his friends and family and sympathizers from all over the world have pleaded with him to stop. Nevertheless he is determined to continue.
Jan Bednar's Health Conditions Are Deteriorating
• Sign the petition: "No Star Wars"
Support for the hunger strike has come from Americans Christopher Hedges, Adam Hochschild, Bruce K. Gagnon, and Ariel Dorfman. The Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign sends its solidarity and support to the two young Czechs, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar. The hunger strikers have the support of the vice-chair of Czech Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies. Sung-Hee Choi from South Korea has written that she will join the hunger strike in support of our friends in the Czech Republic. Gareth Smith in Australia will join hunger strike for 7 days.
(May 25, 2008) — Jan Bednar's health conditions are deteriorating. He is on his 13th day of hunger strike against the military occupation of the Czech Republic by the United States, part of the Star Wars project. The medical team, his friends and family and sympathizers from all over the world have pleaded with him to stop. Nevertheless he is determined to continue.
"There are no signs that the Czech government is willing to open dialogs on this issue or any official statement by the European Parliament" he repeated this morning.
Sympathy and support for the pacifist Czech grows daily:
Former Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Jan Kavan paid the protesters a visit, as well as other intellectuals and politicians.
Protests in support of the Czech democracy and against Europe's nuclear rearmament policies increase daily: uncountable solidarity fasts, are continuing in Amsterdam, Berlin, Bologna, Budapest, České Bud_jovice, Brunswick, Copenhagen, Florence, London, Malaga, Milan, New York, Bologna, Paris, Toulouse, Trieste,Turin and have now reached Sidney. More than a thousand people sign the www.nonviolence.cz online petition everyday.
European reporters are arriving in the Czech Republic to cover this new Prague Spring but national TV continues its biased course.
Solidarity messages pour in daily from hundreds of organizations and personalities such as: Noam Chomsky, Dario Fo and Franca Rame Giorgio Schultze, Giulietto Chiesa (European Parliament member), Luisa Morgantini (Vice President of the European Parliament), Nichi Vendola, president of Puglia Region in Italy, French bishop Jacques Gaillot and Pulitzer-Prize winner Chris Hedges.
Unlimited hunger strike today:
Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in Prague since May 13, Dino Mancarella in Trieste since May 14, Federica Fratini Isabel Torres, Eduardo Calizza in Rome since May 19, José Alvarez in Spain since May 22. They have been joined today by Bruce Gagnon and the Korean Sung-Hee Choi in the USA and Gareth Smith in Australia and Joaquin Valenzuela in Bologna.
"I do not agree with the installation of a US military base on Czech Republic territory, as part of their NMD (National Missile Defense) project. The implementation of this project is increasing international tensions, generating a new arms race and is the first step towards the militarization and control of space.
Since more than two thirds of the Czech population are against this project, I think it is only fair that the Czech people have the right to decide on such an important question by means of a referendum."
Support Statement from Christopher Hedges
(May 24, 2008) — I was in Prague in November 1989 and covered the massive, nonviolent resistance as a newspaper reporter that ended the communist reign. The great tradition of Czech defiance from the heroic stand the Czechs took in 1968 to the courage I witnessed during the Velvet Revolution is on display again, led by Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar.
They ask for nothing more than a voice in their own affairs, the right of the Czech people to determine their future, in short, the basic freedoms of a democratic state.
I stand with them in their struggle and send my support and encouragement and thanks. These missiles, as they know, will not make Czechs or Americans or anyone else safer. These missiles are part of the of the vast American imperial project, designed to project American power outwards.
Those who seek to build missile systems in the Czech Republic do not seek cooperation between states or work to strengthen international diplomacy. George Bush's administration has shredded, violated or absented America from its obligations under international law.
He has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, backed out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, tried to kill the International Criminal Court, walked out on negotiations on chemical and biological weapons and defied the Geneva Convention and human rights law in the treatment of detainees.
Most egregiously, he launched an illegal war in Iraq based on fabricated evidence we now know had been discredited even before it was made public.
The president is guilty, in short, of what in legal circles is known as the "crime of aggression." And if we as citizens, here and abroad, do not hold him and the U.S. government accountable for these crimes, if we do not actively defy these efforts to build a world that speaks only in the language of violence, we will be complicit in the codification of a new world order, one that will have terrifying consequences.
For a world without treaties, statutes and laws is a world where any nation, from a rogue nuclear state to a great imperial power, will be able to invoke its domestic laws to annul its obligations to others.
This new order will undo five decades of international cooperation. It will thrust us into a Hobbesian nightmare. A rule-based world matters. All peoples must be free to determine their own destiny, to free themselves from the yoke of oppression, whether that comes in the form of a ruthless communist party, a Soviet occupation or the establishment of the American war machine on Czech soil.
If we demolish the fragile and delicate international order, if we permit the United States to create a world where diplomacy, broad cooperation, law and the democratic right of self-determination are worthless, if we allow these international legal systems and democratic expressions to unravel, we will further erode the possibility of cooperation between nation-states and push the world closer to the bullying, tyranny and perpetual war so many great Czech citizens have sacrificed and fought so hard to defy.
Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar are great Czech patriots. I wish a few more of the citizens in my own country had their fortitude and courage.
Christopher Hedges is a journalist and author specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics. He has spent nearly twenty years as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Central America, Africa and the Balkans and has reported for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, and the New York Times. In 2002 Christopher Hedges received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism and was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for the New York Times' coverage of global terrorism. He has written several books including, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.