Zainab Alkhawaja ended her hunger strike after ten days, according to a blog post by her mother because her health was deteriorating rather fast. I’m glad that she did so. She’s the mother of a beautiful little one-year-old girl who is already facing losing one parent to the brutality of Bahrain’s rulers, the Al-Khalifa family. I don’t believe that any good Zainab can do through her hunger strike could possibly outweigh the harm to her daughter if she dies.
Unfortunately the situation for her family has not improved. Her father’s trial was held in the past 48 hours in secret: no family member was permitted to attend or even to see him, even at a distance. Zainab thinks that this is because he might have visible signs of torture. Under the circumstances, I would not be at all surprised if she were right. Her husband, brother, and other men in her family remain jailed, probably also undergoing torture or maltreatment. That is par for the course in Bahrain under the Al-Khalifas, especially since the outbreak of the Arab Spring revolutions.