Following the lead of actress and activist Mia Farrow, Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ) and recording artist Jon Foreman announced today that they would pick up where Farrow and British mogul Richard Branson left off – fasting to draw attention to the humanitarian conditions in Darfur, Sudan.
In a statement released today, Congressman Payne said:
Over 400,000 people have died through the systematic murder and starvation of the people in the Darfur region. Despite outrage and countless calls for al-Bashir to end the suffering of the Darfuri people, the regime in Khartoum has continued its operation of terror and, last month, even went so far as to expel aid organizations. This is unacceptable. Today I have taken the mantle from Ms. Farrow and Sir Branson to fast as an act of solidarity with the Darfuri people and to call on the world to take a tougher stand against Khartoum’s unrelenting atrocities.
Congressman Payne, who serves as the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, and Jon Foreman, lead of the multi-platinum rock band Switchback, began their 3-day fast today. In a statement, Foreman expressed indignation at the dire humanitarian conditions in Darfur:
Can it be possible that right now, two and a half million people are waking up in camps and refugee camps having been driven from their homes by violent means? Under the same sun, could it be true that almost half a million people have died of starvation, violence, and disease over the past six years in Darfur? Is this true?! And if this is true, why has the media remained almost completely silent on the issue? Why has our government maintained its current stance of inaction?
On April 27, Mia Farrow launched her Darfur hunger strike, which generated a media buzz and landed her on Larry King Live on Day 1 of the fast. After 12 days, at the advice of her doctor and the urging of Richard Branson, who committed to carry on her protest, Farrow announced that she would end her strike but urged others to keep up the momentum she generated “until the expelled humanitarian agencies are readmitted and there is finally justice and peace for the people of Darfur.”
Watch Farrow reflect on the purpose of her protest and her hopes for the future of the Darfur Fast for Life movement.
Visit FastDarfur.org to follow prominent activists like Congressman Payne, Jon Foreman, and others who will step up to fast in solidarity with the people who are suffering right now in Darfur.