London hunger striker explains why she’s prepared to die

London hunger striker explains why she’s prepared to die

Originally published by The Canary

The Canary recently spoke to a 48-year-old woman in London who’s on hunger strike. And she explained exactly why she took this drastic step.

Nahide Zengin has a positive attitude which is so contagious that I can’t help but grin. Like many others, she’s in exile. Branded as a ‘terrorist’ by the Turkish state, she now lives in London. Along with roughly 7,000 other Kurdish people around the world, she is on an indefinite hunger strike. She has been surviving on a combination of liquids, sugar, salt, and B vitamins since 14 March. With a big, determined smile on her face, she says she’s at high risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

She’s not the only Londoner on hunger strike. Mehmet Sait Yilmaz has also been on strike for the same amount of time. Like all of the hunger strikers, Nahide and Mehmet are demanding that Turkey lifts the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned by Turkey for 20 years. For much of that time, Öcalan has been kept in solitary confinement, without contact with lawyers or his family.

In the first of a two-part interview with the London hunger strikers, The Canary asked Nahide about her life, the situation for Kurdish people, and why she is prepared to die.

Read more here.