Greg Kasarik

"Act with Empathy"
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 Background to Hunger strike 2012

For those who don't know me, or haven't browsed these pages, I am a Melbourne based mystic, who has been using Transcendent Compounds as part of my religious practice since 2006. 

Two years ago I made a decision that would change my life forever. I decided that I was no longer prepared to lie, deceive, and pretend to be somebody who I was not. I decided that I would no longer keep secret that great part of my spirituality that is expressed through the use of Transcendent Compounds. I decided that I would be open about my use of these and that I would no longer skulk about in the shadows like a common criminal. 

This decision has had significant consequences, in that it has been difficult for me to find work (although there have been other contributing factors) and I am unable to continue studying towards the completion of a Masters degree in Psychology, because I would be immediately deregistered for my “drug use”, which I am assured is considered "inappropriate" behavior for a psychologist.  

Eighteen months ago, I wrote to every member of the Victorian State parliament and the Australian Federal Parliament along with dozens of journalists, people working in the “Alcohol and Other Drug” sector and even police. I began those letters by saying:
 “I use illegal drugs. I intend to keep on using illegal drugs. Their use is an inseparable part of my religious practice”, 

In them, I called for regulated access to these compounds for religious purposes and explained that not only is their use a valid form of religious practice for thousands of Australians, but that they are part of ancient religious traditions, that have been safely using these compounds for thousands of years. 
I concluded these letters by stating in no uncertain terms that: 

“I will continue to practice this element of my religion, irrespective of what the laws of the land might happen to be. I reserve the right to use Transcendent Compounds and to induct others into their use in a safe and respectful manner, just as I reserve the right to educate anybody who is interested about my religious beliefs and philosophies.” 

Highly provocative stuff. But with the exception of a recent interview with John Safran and Father Bob on Triple J, I have been largely ignored. Even the police have shown no apparent concern. Government and others have demonstrated that they have no interest in engaging with an issue such as this. They don’t care about science. They don’t care about religious freedom. And they don’t care about the law, which in Victoria clearly states that individuals have the right to freely practice their religion and that the Government has the responsibility to ensure that laws do not infringe upon that right without “demonstrably justifiable” reasons. 

Today I announce that because it is clear that the Victorian Government has no intention of complying with the law and recognising the legitimate religious practices of thousands of their citizens, that at 6:38 am on 14 November 2012, I will be commencing a hunger strike in Melbourne’s Burke Street Mall. This action will continue until 6:38 am on December 21st, or until advised otherwise by medical professionals. 

Many will recognize the significance of the dates. The commencement is on the same time and day as the last total eclipse of the sun prior to the end of the Mayan calendar, which will take place on December 21. While I personally don’t give credence to the 2012 hype, others do, and like many I feel a zeitgeist that can be harnessed and channelled into meaningful action and change. 

The majority of the hunger strike will also take place over the period in which people are engaged in their Christmas shopping and I will in all likelihood remain in the Mall until at least Christmas, or New Year's Day.  It is my intent to contrast the religious freedoms enjoyed by Christians and others, with the persecution that they thoughtlessly inflict our community. 

Similarly, in giving up food for such an extended period of time, I am calling upon people to question their stereotypes of those such as I as mere "druggies" and "addicts". I will demonstrate that this is not the case, by showing that I have the strength of character to go without something that most would probably kill to get hold of: Food. 

Who exactly is the addict here?


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