“Stories of Empty Stomachs”: A Theatre Production about Detainees on Hunger Strike

In CIHRS Alumni Club by CIHRS

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On Sunday, October 19, members of CIHRS’s Alumni Club will present a stage production titled: “Cannula: Stories of Empty Stomachs.” The production will tell the true stories of detainees who have decided to stage a hunger strike in protest against their trials, which failed to meet international standards of due process, and their inhumane treatment in prison.

The production, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the Greek Campus Theater, located in AUC’s downtown campus, dramatizes the stories of 14 people who have been detained in different prisons in connection with various cases over the past 15 months. It tells the stories of field medics, journalists, students, and peaceful demonstrators, as well as bystanders who merely happened to be at the site of demonstrations or clashes, who were arrested and still awaiting trial.

In their preparations for the production, members of CIHRS’s Alumni Club collected testimonies of hunger strikers, obtained through prison letters written to families, letters some detainees have managed to publish online, as well as videotaped statements. The alumni club members also contacted detainees’ families and friends who have visited them in prison to gain an accurate understanding of their conditions, the hardships they face, and their motives for going on hunger strike. The play also explores the hunger strikes’ impact on the families and friends of the detainees, and those standing in solidarity with them outside prison. It also tells the story of some of the detainees’ children through letters they have written to their loved ones behind bars.

In writing the production, the members of CIHRS’s Alumni Club sought to present the stories of a variety of detainees who, despite their divergent political backgrounds, the causes and location of their detention, and the charges facing them, are united by their decision to go on hunger strike. The stage production thus conveys a unified message that rejects the degrading treatment of detainees and affirms their right to a fair trial regardless of political affiliation or the nature of the charges against them.

Place: Greek Campus Theatre, AUC, Downtown Campus: 28 Falaki Street, Crn. Mohammad Mahmud.

Date/Time: 19 October, 7 p.m.

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