Meet Men Who Fight With Their Stomach
By: Anselm Anyoha
As he tried to examine all the troubles, they all disappeared like vanishing dreams. "Let them go for now," he silently stated. "Going on a hunger strike won't be easy, but it is worth the sacrifice." "Obstacles would come. He just needed to confront each obstacle as they came and tie them up neatly, one by one."
In confronting the nearest obstacle staring down at him, he opened the right door of the fridge, grabbed a pot of freshly made okra soup, opened the lid, and held it in his right hand. As he peered in the pot, the head and neck of a piece of stockfish dunked like a drowning man dealt a debilitating blow to his firm decision, but the blow didn't have enough force to destroy the soul of his goals. "Get it together son," he reprimanded himself.
What is at stake in this struggle is more than a piece of stockfish and chunks of stewed goat meat in a pot of soup. These distractions, he reasoned, were the usual push and pull of the mind whenever someone embarks on a mission to change their oppressive circumstances.
"Without exception," he declared, "at one point in time, every man has contemplated a hunger strike in protest of life's humiliations. Did they all succeed? No." Taking that into consideration, he assured himself that it is reasonable to determine beforehand whether he would, unlike those who failed, be able to endure the pains that come with a hunger strike. Before long, he conjured up the faces of men who changed the world, fighting not with their worn-out knuckles and bony heads but with their stomachs.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—Mahatma Gandhi, The Great Soul—stood out as an example of what devotion to a mission means. Briefly, he examined why Gandhi succeeded in going without food for several weeks. Gandhi's will to starve came from the stamina that grew in his belly from standing up for his Indian people against British imperialism. Public support gave him oxygen and nutrients. When Gandhi stretched his hands, aides handed him a glass of water. When he arose from a seated position, they held his hands. Gandhi won because his hunger strike inflicted more emotional pain on his oppressors than the physical pain he suffered from starvation.
While deep in thought about Gandhi, Ejike concluded that he could easily outpace Gandhi in public support, perhaps outlast the number of weeks Gandhi spent on a hunger strike, if only the people who would benefit from his struggles would wake up from their hollow pitiful life and support him for the success ahead.
Thereafter, some elements of what was wrong within and worldwide returned like a once-vanished nightdream. "What privileges do all and sundry owe individuals at the threshold of sixty years of age?" "Several," he answered in a humbled but not subdued tone, "such as being allowed to sleep and rest whenever they want, get on when the spirit moves them, gamble whenever they can, eat whatever they want, dillydally whenever they feel like, choose their friends, read and write as it pleases them, select whose sermons they want to listen to, and whose parties they want to attend------.'' Collectively and individually, these struggles are probably bigger than what motivated Gandhi to fight the British.
Satisfied with his deliberations and determination, Ejike went into a long day of obligated routine, duties, and fun. When the next morning came, he discovered that many of the reasons motivating him to begin a hunger strike appeared to have vanished, even though they hid like black crickets in shallow ground. To recommit to the stomach fight, he checked the kitchen cabinets for left-over Chinese fortune cookies and then walked over to the fridge to open it, drawing the pot by the handle to take another look at the soup. It both pained and pleased him that the threatening stockfish had disappeared.
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