Last March, I blogged about the Bush Administration’s plan to deploy a proposed a missile defense system in both the Czech Republic and Poland despite the reluctance of the host countries, where public opinion polls show most citizens opposing the planned bases as well as the little fact, as amply reported, that the system’s technology doesn’t yet work. I detailed grassroots opposition efforts in the Czech Republic and urged readers to sign the Czech Humanist Movement‘s international petition.
Two leaders of the Czech Humanist movement are now going much further at great personal risk to dramatize why they see the base as nothing less than a grave threat to democracy in their country. On May 13, humanists Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar began what they say will be an indefinite hunger strike in Prague against the installation of the Star Wars’ radar in the Czech Republic. A Google news search conducted today turned up not one mainstream media article, news report or broadcast feature about the hunger strike.
This is their declaration:
For nearly two years, members of the Humanist Movement have dedicated themselves to the nonviolent fight against the Star Wars project, and, specifically against the installation of the proposed US military base in the Czech Republic.
The online petition against the radar at www.nonviolence.cz has been signed by more than 78 000 people. According to the last official poll, published in mid-May, 65 percent of the Czech population is still opposed to the radar base.
Unfortunately, the Czech government ignores the opinion of the majority of its citizens. It continues its negotiations with the US, and the signing of treaties that will allow once again for the presence of foreign troops on Czech territory is right around the corner. All of this despite the fact that the US Star Wars project has critics not only outside of the US, but within the US as well, including members of the US Congress.
Participating in this dangerous project of the outgoing US administration would not only make the Czech Republic a target, it would also lead to an increase in international tensions within Europe and possibly to the creation of an international conflict with the Czech Republic in its center.
The voices of various international organizations are recognizing that the US will, in fact, be carrying out a military occupation of the Czech Republic.
The issue of the US military base is not only an issue of international security for us, but also an issue of democracy. It is about whether we will once again allow a small group of elite politicians to ignore the wishes of the majority of the population on an issue of great importance to their fate. These methods remind us of times before 1989 — times we don’t want to be repeated.
The plan to build a US military base on our territory and the dangers it poses for the future of democracy in our country have led us to begin an unlimited hunger strike. Our goal is to highlight the dangerous direction our country has been taking for the last two years and to stop a minority of politicians from carrying out their plans against the will of the majority of the people.
We will continue our hunger strike until we receive clear indications that negotiations will be stopped, a national referendum will take place, or a real, open and democratic discussion on this issue will be allowed to take place.