Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If you want Boeing to manufacture airliners with ceramic plumbing fixtures, stay off cereal.

Hunger Strikes. I could never really get a handle on the whole concept. It seems there is nothing these days that you cannot protest against by staying hungry. Two powerful nations make a deal to exchange atomic technology in a multi-billion dollar deal that can secure the energy-independence of a large part of the third world; Eastern European refugees are mercilessly slaughtered by soldiers armed with AK-47 assault rifles; Arch gravity dams are built by geotechnical engineers aided by the Government and secretly backed by major power corporations. You read about all this in the news and conclude that the world is upto no good, and decide to do something about it.

What do you do? Do you mobilize the power hungry masses of a deprived communist nation and start a revolution to overthrow the dictatorship? Do you mastermind a secret plot to assassinate the president of the United States of America? Do you thrust anti-aircraft guns and pepper spray into the hands of crane operators and paper mill workers and lead an invasion of the solar system? No. Instead you decide to skip lunch. And assure the media that you are not on a weight-loss diet.

I fail to understand how people can think that they can bring about a change by not eating. How do you combat persuasive political will and corporate greed? Quite literally by skipping lunch! It's a bit like hoping to ward off the Spanish armada, armed with a watermelon.

What do you think is going on behind those thick boardroom walls?

Politician 1: "Gentlemen, we have managed to secure the Government's approval for construction of the nuclear power plant. The project will be sanctioned in a couple of weeks. The reaction chambers are being assembled in Volgograd and the enriched Uranium ore is being loaded into an Ukrainian vessel in Shanghai even as we speak. Phase II of the project will go live in exactly 90 days from now, and within 6 months, our newly installed power plant would produce 11500 MW of power."

Politician 2: "That's great news! We are well on our way to becoming a nuclear superpower. Nothing can stop us now!"

Politician 2's sidekick (in a small voice): "Umm...there could be one small problem..."

(at this point deathly silence suddenly descends upon the room. There is a collective holding of breaths in the room, and the tension mounts)

Politician 2's sidekick nervously continues, "Well, uhh...umm... some environmentalist from Nagpur has not eaten since morning..."

(Everyone in the room gasps in horror, looks of disbelief all around.)

Corporate Mogul: " Oh No! Not THAT! Politician 1! How could you let this happen?! Our plan was supposed to be airtight! How could you let this happen?! What are we going to do now?! Our entire nuclear strategy is compromised now!"

Politician 1: "Honestly gentlemen, we didn't see this one coming. Since we, the Government and the corporate giants care deeply for the gastronomical well being of our social activists, this new and unforeseeable development leaves us with no alternative but to pull out of the deal. Delegates of the press, representatives of our corporate sponsors and representatives of the UN and the G5 nations, we apologize for the inconvenience. Bhel-puri is served in the stalls in the lobby, thank you for your time."

Seriously protesters, do you imagine boardroom conversations to be like that? Look at the situation objectively. In my rational opinion, no one would be hassled if you stop eating, unless they want to sell you popcorn. On the other hand, all considered, few things are more convincing and persuasive than the unfastened end of the barrel of a 5.56mm M4 carbine staring at your temple like a Nazi pit-bull. Hunger of course, is a mute statue compared with the persuasive eloquence of the immediate possibility of 30 rounds of a semiautomatic burst jostling for space with your larynx.

No one has ever died while fasting. It's a fact. Place that large heavy machine gun order before they find out.