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Activists, With Actress in Their Ranks, Sound Darfur Alarm

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Activists, With Actress in Their Ranks, Sound Darfur Alarm

Posted by Laura Heaton on April 30, 2009

It’s been nearly two months since the Government of Sudan expelled 16 aid agencies that were providing life-saving assistance to the people of Darfur. The initial outcry of concern for the estimated 1 million people at-risk has largely faded from view, but this attention deficit should certainly not be interpreted as “no news is good news.” The reality could not be further from the truth.

As Omer explained in his recent post, this “lull” in the humanitarian panic is largely circumstantial – the rainy season, and the disease it will bring, has not yet begun – and in no way indicates that the needs of the people have been met.

Aware of this reality and concerned that the plight of Darfuris had slipped out of public view, activists this week redoubled their efforts. On Monday, as we documented, five members of Congress and two leading Darfur activists were arrested in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. The same day, actress and activist Mia Farrow began a hunger strike as a sign of solidarity with the people of Darfur and, “as a personal expression of outrage at a world that is somehow able to stand by and watch innocent men, women and children needlessly die of starvation, thirst and disease,” as she explained in her own post on Huffington Post.

Some may argue such efforts are futile, but even a quick scan of the news cycle yesterday shows what a wave of interest Mia’s protest generated. Mia’s protest made the headlines of many major news outlets, and Larry King even hosted her on Monday night’s show (watch the clip below). Asked by Larry King what she hopes to accomplish, Mia spoke about the plight of civilians and concluded by saying:

Darfur’s people are crying out for help, and they can’t be heard right now. So, it’s great that you’re interviewing me, and I suppose you wouldn’t have had I not gone on a hunger strike, so… there we have it.

True, Mia’s effort may not have an immediate impact on improving the conditions on the ground in Darfur, but there is no doubt that she is raising the profile of the conflict at a time when renewed attention is urgently needed.

Activists are asked to join Mia for a day in her hunger strike.  Learn more about how to take action and join in this fast at Darfur Fast For Life. Enough Said will be checking in with Mia throughout her protest, and you can follow her daily at