Last Tuesday, hunger striker Dr Wayne Kublalsingh said he did not think he could make it beyond the next two or three days. The last week was critical.On Friday, Kublalsingh, very lucid, did a lengthy telephone interview with the Guardian.Asked how he managed to make it, having not eaten or drunk anything for 44 days, he said he himself was very shocked."I myself am very shocked my body is going for so long. I didn't think it would last more than three days."
Kublalsingh said it is "the spirit" that has been nourishing and strengthening him."My body is just going and going. I can't explain it."As the days go by, my body is getting weaker but my mind has become extremely clear."If you believe, everything becomes possible. I think it's a triumph of the spirit."He added, "Of course, at some point my body is going to relent."But I am not going to make any prediction again. I have been predicting wrongly."
And if he did pass on, what would be his last words to citizens of T&T?"I would ask them to go back to their holy books, renew their faith and understand its importance."When Paul berated the Galatians (in the Bible), they had forgotten the spirit and were living in the flesh."People often need to be reminded flesh is transitory, and it is the spirit that is real."
Kublalsingh, a Presbyterian, said he has been reading all the sacred books, but it was the Gita that had the greatest impact on him.Quoting a line from it, he said, "The real never is not. The unreal is."He insisted he will not end the hunger strike until Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar honours her promise to halt and review the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Point Fortin highway.He is confident of victory because it was not up to the PM but the public, he said.
Asked if it has all come down to a battle of wills between him and the PM, who is also unrelenting in her decision the project will go on, he said, "I don't see that at all."I see intelligent and progressive faces in society battling with the Prime Minister in the matter."Kublalsingh said he consulted with members of the media, the Catholic church and civil groups before he embarked on the second hunger strike.
He initiated the consultation and proposed the second hunger strike and none of them supported the idea, he said.He denied he was being backed by any political pressure group but expressed solidarity with Movement for Social Justice's David Abdulah, who resigned as a government senator, and Ancel Roget, leader of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union who has participated in PNM marches.Kublalsingh said they are comrades who have been supportive.
Asked if he had communist views, like Abdulah, he said evasively, "We share a lot of ideas together. He, Roget, all of us, have a strong solidarity, as we have with the Catholic church."But he added, "We are also aligned with middle class capitalists."Kublalsingh said while he was fasting in front the PM's St Clair office, a businessman gave the Highway Re-route Movement he led $80,000 which they used for television ads.
Describing himself as a social warrior creating a revolution, Kublalsingh said the Government needs to feel the cutting edge of the power of the people, and the people need to feel the cutting edge of their power."The Government needs to feel vulnerable," he said.When the Sunday Guardian contacted Kublalsingh yesterday afternoon, he said, in a very low tone, that he was not going to give up on the hunger strike. "I know I can die from a stroke or a heart attack at any moment, but I am not giving up."
Asked if sacrificing his life for the highway was worth it, Kublalsingh said "yes."He added, "I am doing all this for the people who are being taken advantage of, what the Government is doing is wrong." Today marks day 46 of Kublalsingh's hunger strike.