Starving for Justice


Guest story by George Rolph

Writing in the Independent Johann Hari reported on July 2nd 2010 how Goldman Sachs and “its swarm of Wall Street allies” had been causing massive starvation and riots around the world by trading contracts made between farmers and traders as futures on the stock exchange.  (You can read his excellent piece here:  )

In the article referenced above you can read the story of Abiba Getaneh. She is an Ethiopian mother. Pay attention to what she had to say about her hunger: “I felt like battery acid had been poured into my stomach as I starved….” She goes on to talk about the effects on her children too. My readers will, I am sure. feel horrified that the acts of some powerfully greedy little men and women in the West can have such terrible effects on people all over the world as their starvation buys these disgusting dead-hearted people a new work of art to hang in their massive houses or perhaps, a nice diamond bracelet to impress associates with.

This week I spent over four days with a man who knows the terrible pain that Abiba Getaneh and her children went through. He is feeling it right now. Today. His pitifully thin body has began to eat into the muscles because there is no fat left to consume as a source of energy. In his hollowed out face his eyes burn with a revolutionary zeal. His lips are set in grim determination. His skin, burnt by the sun to the colour of dried tobacco, is stretched tightly over his weakening skeleton. Every now and again his head and body lurch to the side as he retches. All that leaves his stomach is the water he has been drinking. Today, his pain has lasted twenty seven days and no end to it is in sight.

The differences between this man and Abiba are many and varied. There are, however, some differences that are deeply tragic. Abiba’s pain has ended now and she can eat again. His pain has not ended. It is fashionable for many in the rich West to feign concern for the Abiba’s of this world and to discuss her plight and those of her countrymen and women around the table at their dinner parties. Others have a genuine concern and will work themselves into the floor trying to get food aid to the starving all around the world. Still more will pour their money into charities like Oxfam, Save The Children, Christian Aid and others, with the poor giving proportionately more than the rich and not trying to claim it back on their taxes. This mans pain does not qualify for aid and even donations have been thin on the ground for his supporters. Unlike the Woman’s Movement who receive millions of pounds in aid from the government, the police and the public every year, the Men’s Movement get nothing and that is a quite deliberate political decision.

It has been ever thus. When I was once starving hungry it was a poor man and his wife who fed me from their meagre food supply. The rich turned away, muttering that I should, “Get a b****y job” and then walking on. Happy that they had voiced the outrage of their ‘enlightened’ selves, their colleagues and political masters but never once asking me how I came to be in that mess. Talking to me was beyond their Pharisaical nature. It was easier to walk by on the other side.

This starving man is called Len Miskulin. He is 59 years old. A deeply wounded father. An ex hard working and successful BT engineer, he is on a hunger strike and he is one of those sitting opposite Parliament on the pavement. He too has suffered the insults shouted from passing cars that he should “Get a b****y job.” Insults resulting from feelings stirred up by irresponsible journalists and the many thieving politicians in Westminster who would rather forget their own version of benefit fraud. Len receives no benefits from the State but loudmouthed, self righteous fools in passing cars do not know that.

Originally from Croatia he has been in this country for thirty five years. It was this country that stamped all over him. It was this country that invented the system that ripped his heart out. It was the people of this country that, by their complicit silence in the face of staggering pain and injustice for thousands of fathers like Len, walked by on the other side. It is the people and the governors of those people who allow thousands of men like Len Miskulin to suffer unbearable pain because of their inflexibility and sheer naked, ideologically driven greed, that seems coupled with a staggering degree of misplaced hate. Unlike Abiba there is no fashionable concern for Len. He is homeless. He is starving because no one cares. He is starving because of a deeply held grief that will not leave his soul in peace. When that battery acid pain that Abiba felt tears into Len’s stomach lining it serves only to bring to mind his two children that he has not seen in ten years and to increase his determination to go another day without food.

At the State opening of Parliament Len watched as the Queen and her retinue drove past in the carriages of State. He wondered if she noticed him sitting outside of his tent in clear view of the road as she went by. A huge sign telling any who would look his way that he was starving himself because of her judges and her politicians.

Did she look his way? I have no idea. What I do know is that she is not ignorant of what is being done to men like Len. Fathers4Justice campaigners who stormed her London palace in 2004 made sure of that. The contrast between her condition, described at the time by journalist Phillip Johnston writing in the Telegraph as, looking like “a picture of health” and the pitiful condition of Len Miskulin could not be greater.

Len Miskulin on hungerstrike
Len Miskulin. Starving for Justice.

As I contemplated that contrast I amused myself with a fantasy to help break the depressing reality of Len’s condition threatening my mind. I imagined the impossible. The Queens carriage coming to a halt opposite the green at Westminster and her royal figure alighting from the carriage and walking — in all of her robes of state — over to the mess of tents. There she walked among some of her people who were, for a myriad of personal and political reasons, not enjoying life in her country. In my imagination I saw her leaning forwards to speak to Len who made no attempt to rise from his seat and saying, “And what do you do?”  Then I saw in my mind, Len push himself painfully from his folding chair and stand proudly before her on unsteady feet. I saw him fix his eyes upon hers with an unwavering and piercing gaze and tell her, respectfully, but forcefully, “I starve, your majesty, because your courts stole my children and stripped me of all my assets and my children’s inheritance.” I wondered if she would blush. I finally decided that she would not. Her mind would probably have wandered away from Len a split second after she had asked a question whose answer she had no interest in. Perhaps I do her an injustice. I doubt it. She has done nothing to show any support for the nations fathers since the feminist inspired war on them began. There is no capital to be gained for her, unlike during the war when her parents visited the bombed out buildings in the East End and announced that they could now look people in the eye. Somehow, between then and now the Royal family have lost their humanity and common touch. The Queens heart has hardened and she no longer cares except where she must pretend too care for reasons of diplomacy or publicity.

On Sunday evening I travelled from my home in Bromley to Len’s tent in Westminster to sit with him through the night in case the bailiffs came to turf him off the green so that Boris Johnson and those other stalwarts of humanity in the Houses of Commons and Lords would have a little less to complain about. I knew that the bailiffs would come with the police to back them up. I also knew that things might get nasty and if they did, the police would have their black uniformed thugs nearby at hand to stamp on those who resisted and possibly those who could not resist, like Len. I was determined to do what I could to passively protect him from any blows that might come his way. His health could not have stood a Tasering or kick to the belly from a psychopathic thug in armour. I wanted to try and see that such a thing did not happen to him. The bailiffs did not come that night. Instead, the police drove periodically around the green at four in the morning with the sirens screaming in an effort to make sure that no one slept. Coupled with the fact that they had made sure many of the toilets nearby were shut and, I am told, all water stand pipes had been shut off, who ever gave those orders to those unthinking robots who carried them out were like nasty children bullying the helpless for fun. This is what our country has come too and it is also the reason the camp on the green exists at all. Earlier in the day I had heard one of the peace camps inhabitants speaking to a foreign journalist who had said, with a nod towards the House of Commons, “Those people think you are nuts.” “Yes well.” The hippy replied. “Like attracts like so they could be right”

Today, Len is still there. He is enduring another day of self imposed agony because he has no other way to express his rage at what has been done to him. Unlike the feminists, the amorphous International Men’s movement has refrained from using violence to get its message across. Today, like every other day he has been there, the common tourists will come and speak to him and he will tell his tale for the thousandth time. They will photograph him and sympathise and hopefully, go home to tell their friends in their own country how the once most democratic country in the world is sliding into barbarism against its own fathers.

A few days ago, a male teacher led a sizable party of school children onto the green. They gathered around Len and began firing their questions at him in a polite and slightly bewildered way. Unable to raise his voice above the din of the traffic and weak from the sun and the corrosive acid eating at his stomach lining, I spoke up for him. As I told his story and answered their questions the teacher said nothing. He was letting the children experience the raw emotion of the situation for themselves. I was aware of the need not to frighten the children but also, not to shield them from the realities of life in the country they live in. I saw the shock in their eyes and knew they would talk about what they had heard to their parents and friends. Getting the message out to those who still have hearts that can feel compassion for their fellow man. Before they left I told them that their generation needed to find a better way than our incompetent generation had for dealing with the issues of family breakups. Len and I thanked them for asking their questions and being interested. Something we could not say to a single MP. One bright looking young girl replied, “No. Thank you both for being brave and telling us.” I was deeply moved. Both by the children’s natural concern for another and by the teachers amazing instincts for letting the children learn about life outside of their own realities. Something both politicians, the legal system and journalists are often reluctant to do when it comes to their own people.

Abiba Getaneh suffered her pain because of the impersonal and irresponsible greed of Goldman Sachs and others. Len is suffering his pain because of the closed minds of politicians and the greed of lawyers and judges who have devised a system steeped in astonishing cruelty and a secret process they can spin out for as long as they wish in order to keep the money rolling in. Tonight, somewhere in this country, a judge and lawyer will be dining out on money made from the misery of thousands of men like Len. All in the best interests of the child, of course. Most of those men will suffer in silence. Some will squeak out a weak protest online or by letters to their MP’s. Most will take pills for the depression they feel and try to go on living. Still more will kill themselves or drift into homelessness because their future has been stolen from them. Like those other victims of injustice, the men who are abused by their wives and partners in their homes everyday, they will look at people like David Cameron and Boris Johnson with undisguised disgust. They will do the same to our almost silent press who collude with MP’s, feminists and the police to walk past on the other side and to present misinformation to the public (See here:  ) in a deliberate policy of propaganda and deception. And that is a further difference between Abiba Getaneh’s pain and Len Miskulin’s pain. Hers was caused by unthinking greed. Len’s is caused by greed and lies.

In his latest article for the Independent, brilliant journalist Johann Hari apparently inadvertently mirrored the attitude of the establishment to fathers deprived of their very basic human right to have contact with their own children and be involved in their upbringing. He wrote about the Peace camps protesters and spoke eloquently and movingly about why their presence on the green was more important than Boris Johnsons aesthetic sensibilities, but he skimmed past Len Miskulin’s story with barely a nod in his direction.

He writes:

“As the months went on, the tent city developed and mutated each time I visited. More protesters arrived, with a more eclectic range of grievances. A man appeared announcing he was starving himself because the courts wouldn’t let him see his children: he hasn’t eaten for more than 20 days.”

This is the story behind the announcement Johann Hari so briefly reported. It is as moving and as sad as Abiba’s story and just as unnecessary. It is time we spoke out about these men like Len and let the world know that Britain does have a heart after all.

It does, doesn’t it?

Tomorrow is day twenty eight for Len’s pain. If you can pray and know how, please do.

George Rolph
Bromley. Kent


Video of Len Miskulin’s eviction (sorry, that link no longer functions, and a copy of the video is not available at the Internet Archive) from the Peace Camp, opposite from the Parliament, in London (video link provided by George Rolph).

I am sure that quite a few of us can say: There, but for the grace of God, goes I.

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