Experiments with Truth: News

Using hunger as weapon of protest

A gaunt Elliott Adams sat on a metal folding chair at the corner of Wolf Road and Central Avenue as protesters in orange jumpsuits and black hoods demanded the U.S. close its jail at Guantanamo Bay.

Adams, 66, has been fasting for six weeks in solidarity with prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, where about 106 of 166 wartime detainees refuse to eat and 45 are being force-fed by U.S. military personnel, according to media reports from this week.

Adams fought as a paratrooper in Vietnam and was twice elected mayor of Sharon Springs, a small village in Schoharie County where he lives with his wife, Ann. He eats up to 300 calories a day, typically a half-cup of oats, and drinks three liters of water. He’s dropped 32 pounds since May 17, and now weighs 138. His shoulders and knees have turned bony and weak. His speech is slurred by hunger, and he no longer remembers everything he says.

But Adams’ passion hasn’t waned. Despite his fragile condition, he travels to share what he says is an urgent message. Speaking on the busy Colonie street corner on Wednesday, Adams said the U.S. should close the Guantanamo prison and its inmates should be tried in U.S. civilian courts. Holding suspects indefinitely without charging them violates every principal America stands for, he said.

More Follow External Link to Dennis Yusko, Times Union