A Former IRA Hunger Striker Talks About the Guantanamo Hunger Strikers
VICE: Do you see parallels between the situation in Guantanamo Bay and the situation you were involved with in 1981?
Hodgins: I can, in a way, if you leave the politics and ideology out of it. Our hunger strike was borne out of desperation. We had spent five years in complete and total isolation, locked up 24 hours a day. During those five years our political representatives had been trying to make a case for the reforms within the prison and, at the end of the process, it wasn’t coming—the brutality was getting worse. We were trying to bring the H Block to an end. My understanding with the Guantanamo prisoners is that at least 50 percent have been cleared for release. In other words, they’re not a threat to the United States or anyone else, yet they’re still being held.
I’d imagine those people have absolutely no hope. They’ve been kidnapped from their homes halfway around the world, transported to the end of Cuba and are being kept in conditions that are pretty brutal. It’s my understanding that prisoners have died or been killed in Guantanamo, depending on what slant you believe. So the hunger strike that they’re engaged in at the moment is also borne out of desperation. They’ve been left there to rot and be the plaything for brutal Marines.