Today is the day of the Hunger Strike for Darfur. Since I chose to participate, I decided I'd blog on the experience.
Sunday Morning I was given the opportunity by my pastor to present the hunger strike to all of the members of my church. Many in our congregation fast on Wednesdays anyway, so it seemed a perfect match. While I'm politically active, as a Christian I believe in God's ability to move hearts and change minds, so I decided to couple the political act of a hunger strike with a fast. Today I will be praying for Darfur.
This morning I forgot what day it was and accidentally broke the fast before it began. I don't feel so bad since it was a very small amount of food (a bag of fruit chews and a mug of hot chocolate), and immediately resolved to resume the fast for the rest of the day. I was tempted by free muffins at work, but abstained.
Also remembered to go over to the Darfur website and register as one of the hunger strikers, and left a message that I was doing this to show solidarity with htose suffering in Darfur.
How noble that sounds, eh? Rot. I'm fat, I'm well-fed, I'm rich by world standards, and one measly day without food will in no way help me experience for myself the plight of those being starved. But that was the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment.
No, this isn't about me "identifying" with those in Darfur, this is about me using every proper political and spiritual means available to me to try to help. This is like writing my congressman (note to self....) or writing a letter to the editor. It's not heroic, but it helps. I feel like I just tossed another starfish back in the ocean.
I received the following email back after signing up to fast for Darfur (I added the emphasis in bold):
Dear Darfur Hunger Striker,
Thank you for making a small sacrifice today to spark the world’s conscience. Whether you are fasting alone, at work or at home, with friends or family, know that there are over 2,000 people across the United States acting in solidarity with you and millions of people in Darfur counting on actions like yours to bring them justice. You should feel proud.
Going without food for a day is not easy - our stomachs are already rumbling! But we can only imagine the deprivations and dangers faced daily by the victims of the genocide in Sudan. Everytime you feel hungry or refuse an invitation to eat something today, why not use the opportunity to tell someone why you are fasting and about what is happening in Darfur?
Response to the fast has been overwhelming and we've decided to open it up so people can fast any day from today through Sunday. If you know people who are not fasting today but you think may want to raise awareness about the genocide in Darfur, please forward them the link below so they can join in this action:
Don't forget that you can help spread news of the fast by contacting your local media or passing out flyers. You can download everything you need, including advice about dealing with the media, from our website at:
Good luck, and best wishes