Hunger strike: Transgender woman prisoner Marie Dean, Tunisian migrants, and Davos

Marie Dean

While, in Davos, billionaires and millionaires gorged themselves, in England, transgender woman prisoner Marie Dean led a solitary hunger strike for her dignity and life, and, on the island of Lampedusa in Italy, over 40 Tunisian migrants sewed their lips shut and entered a hunger strike, demanding to be transferred off the island onto the mainland and demanding not to be deported. All this occurred while the munching billionaires told the gulping millionaires “how the middle class feels.” For Marie Dean and for the Tunisian migrants, the whole world was not watching.

Marie Dean, 50 years old, currently sits in HMP Preston, a men’s prison in Lancashire. Dean has petitioned to have her chosen gender recognized. The Ministry of Justice refused. The Ministry of Justice assures the public that Marie Dean is perfectly safe in an all-male prison: “There are stringent procedures in place to ensure transgender prisoners are managed safely and in accordance with the law. We have robust safeguards in place to ensure that the system is not abused.” Those “stringent procedures” did nothing for Vicky Thompson, Joanne Latham, or Jenny Swift, transgender women prisoners placed in men’s prisons. Each protested, begged, pleaded. Each was “found dead”. Now, Marie Dean says she is willing to fast unto death, rather than suffer ongoing dehumanization. What happened to Vicky Thompson, Joanne Latham, and Jenny Swift? The routine torture of transgender women prisoners. What is happening to Marie Dean? The routine torture of transgender women prisoners. While Marie Dean fasts unto death, the world watches the super wealthy gorge themselves in Davos.

On Lampedusa, forty some Tunisians migrants have been held for several weeks. Recently they were informed they were to be deported. In response, they went on hunger strike, some sewing their mouths shut. In 2013, Tunisian and Moroccan migrants sewed their lips together in protest of the abysmal conditions of detention. As one detainee explained, “People … are treated like animals.”

Marie Dean is on hunger strike because the State is trying to kill her soul. Forty some Tunisians are on hunger strike because the State is trying to kill their souls. Marie Dean and the Tunisian migrants encapsulated the horror that lies at the core of the so-called global economy. For the billionaires and the millionaires to dine at the Davos feast organized by the International Organization of Thieves and Robbers, some must lose their lives. Some lose their lives because they are transgender women; others lose their lives because they are African migrants. They will not be found dead; they will be sacrificed. Marie Dean says NO! The Tunisian migrants say NO! Look away from grinding jaws of Davos, look at the closed and sewn lips of HMP Preston and Lampedusa. The time is now … before more are killed.



(Photo Credit 1: (Photo Credit 2: Giornale di Sicilia)

About Dan Moshenberg

Dan Moshenberg is an organizer educator who has worked with various social movements in the United States and South Africa. Find him on Twitter at @danwibg.