Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Miraculous Escape

On the 51st day of my hunger strike against Japan’s armed aggression in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary the San Diego Police came to my room. At that point I was near death’s door. The police told me that as soon as I became helpless they would take me against my will to a mental institution where I would be force-fed. Thus the fast would end and I stigmatized as mentally incompetent. The policy is that one can present a rational case for a hunger strike and follow it through until one inevitably becomes weak and dazed. Then one is coercively discredited. That defeats the purpose. Therefore I had to stop and go to the hospital to recover.

This happened because several friends had intervened by contacting the police. They put their emotional need to ‘rescue’ me above respect for my willingness to accept the consequences of an existential choice. They chose to override my fundamental principles, clearly expressed from the beginning. Death comes to all. I chose to accept a meaningful death, if necessary, for a higher purpose. So have many others throughout history. That is the most personal decision anyone can make. I gave a rational explanation for my action. Others did not have the right to negate it and the cause for which I suffered. They saved my life. In doing so they chose to cancel out its meaning.

However, a miracle occurred. Veteran environmental activist Michael Bailey had contacted Mike Lee, a reporter, about my hunger strike. Mr. Lee interviewed me in my room on the 49th day of the fast. While the intervention and my hospitalization occurred he conducted an investigation into my background and contacted other sources. In hospital he did a second interview with me. The San Diego Union Tribune published his article, available at:

Thus I escaped both death and the far worse fate of having my protest negated. Beyond the drama of personal conscience v. group feelings, individual commitment to a higher purpose v. a collective consensus that life outranks principle, stands the larger reason for this episode.

Our planet stands on the brink of an ecological catastrophe. This can only be avoided by a cooperative world order in which special interests are subordinated to the common good through the process of international law. Yet Japan is now challenging the very concept of international law. It has sent an armed escort vessel to guard its gigantic whale processing ship from nonviolent activists blocking its illegal activity in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The threat of deadly force in support of a criminal enterprise constitutes armed aggression.

The purpose of my hunger strike was to draw attention to this aggression. The Union Tribune article helped to do so. Now the world community should act to assert the rule of law.