What drives me and inspires me?

Welcome to this blog, the second blog of my campaign.

When you take part in something as major and potentially stigmatising as a hunger-strike and a public protest, you need inspiration and I get this from several sources.

I have been driven to what I want to do because of the many heart rending stories I have come across of staff, often NHS whistleblowers, who have been wrongfully suspended or sacked. Around the time of my dismissal, a talented and respected consultant gynaecologist was also sacked by Addenbrooke’s…he has two young children, and he has had to move house and move in with his parents. He has not worked for a year, and his situation is in many ways much worse than mine.

In terms of inspiration, I have been a follower of Gandhi for around 20 years and have written articles about him, and his words and actions have inspired me in recent times. When I was wrongly dismissed in 2010, I took inspiration from this story of Gandhi when he found himself at the railway station in South Africa having been thrown out of the first class carriage due to his colour, having to spend the night on the freezing platform. This was in Pietermaritzburg, and there is now a memorial at the railway station and a statue in the town square in Pietermaritzburg.

I have also been inspired by the courage and determination shown by the paralympian athletes in the Paralympics we just had in London.

On my facebook page I mention a few individuals who have inspired me, doctors such as Karen Woo who showed such bravery and kindness in the work she did in Afghanistan before she was tragically killed there.

A final source of strength and inspiration for me in my hunger-strike is cases of hunger and poverty in individuals in the third world. I have two examples here – one was reported by the BBC Correspondent in India at the time, Damian Grammaticas.

The other one is from a July 1993 issue of the Sunday Times feature, A Life in the Day…It describes a day in the life of a poor, destitute lady in Calcutta.

Monara remarks – Some days I earn nothing and we drink water. The children whimper, so I go and beg. I hate it, but I’ve no option….Sometimes when there isn’t any food for the children I think I’ll lie down on the railway lines and sleep for ever. But then I think, who will look after my girls? That’s what keeps me going.

Individuals such as these do not have the choice as to when to stop eating and when to start eating again, a choice that I am privileged to have.