American in Arabia: From Palestine to Scandinavia, Starving Against the Elements

Published February 22nd, 2012 - 11:51 GMT
Starving for a cause: American in Arabia doesn't put Khader Adnan, the Palestinian hunger striker, and Peter Skyllberg, the hapless homeless Swede, in the same league.
Starving for a cause: American in Arabia doesn't put Khader Adnan, the Palestinian hunger striker, and Peter Skyllberg, the hapless homeless Swede, in the same league.

Peter Skyllberg is a Swedish man who claims to have survived being trapped in his snow-covered car for two months without food. This astounding story of poor driving is plastered across the media headlines. Emaciated man found alive in snow-covered car was in debt and jobless

[Well poor driving, maybe, but harsh winter conditions in the cold-snap that has frozen Europe and the Middle East, too- ed] We’re all perplexed at how one person could go grizzly for 60 days and hibernate in a Kia Sportif.

A BBC video from inside the car revealed cigarettes, a sleeping bag and about 30 empty coffee cups from Starbucks. [It was reported that this man was unemployed and heavily in debt.- ed.]

A satirical writer could have a field day with this one: “ Hmmm, fill up the gas tank or get another Venti latte?” Or “ Peter should have held it in until he got home” Or “When he emerged from the car, the first thing he requested was a charger for his cell phone…. and an espresso”.

Sadly, there is a similar story that is not receiving nearly as much attention. A Palestinian man named Khader Adnan has also gone two months without food, only this was a self-imposed starvation in an Israeli prison. He began his hunger strike to protest the “humiliation and policy of administrative detention” for those held without charges or trial. In short, Israeli officials claim he is a threat to national security and he is fasting in objection.

When I polled my friends in the States, none of them knew about Khader but most were well acquainted with Peter the Not-So-Great. They marveled at the Swedes endurance and bravery.

Excuse me? Apparently getting stuck in snow and locked in your own car makes you Robin Hood, but non-violent protests? Well, they are just not news worthy.

Regardless of where you stand on Khader’s political views, it is a much more compelling story than a guy who blows his money on coffee and Marlboro Lights instead of getting a quality GPS.

Many would say Mr. Adnan is fasting on behalf of all the Palestinian people who are starving for the attention of justice and human rights. We marvel at his proven endurance. Where does an individual draw the will to not eat, possibly to the point of death, for a cause, an opinion, a statement?

And why can’t we at least hear his side of the story and form our own opinions? Alas, the news media gets stuffed with junk news and fatty tales of Swedish exploring gone awry.

Adnad did end the fast after 66 days. One news outlet said Adnan was days away from death, since some of his vital organs would have failed.

 

On day 65, I wanted to say to him, ” Eat, so we can hear your story!”  I’m fairly certain that if he could’ve talked, he would have said, “We’ve already tried that. It doesn’t work.”

By Brett Weer


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