SUDAN WATCH: Mia Farrow on hunger strike for Darfur rebels and refugees

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mia Farrow on hunger strike for Darfur rebels and refugees

From YouTube by Mia Farrow 05 May 2009:

"Today is the ninth day for me with no food, only water. I am still protesting the expulsion of humanitarians from all of Sudan (including, of course, the Darfur region and the refugee camps). Please call the White House (202-456-1111) and tell President Obama to help get humanitarian groups back in Sudan. For more information go to www.miafarrow.org."



Taking advice from David Blaine and inspiration from Gandhi, the actress aims to fast for 21 days.


Mia Farrow


Mia Farrow, film actress, Unicef goodwill ambassador and former wife of Woody Allen, this morning began her 10th day of a hunger strike in solidarity with the refugees of Darfur. Holed up at her home in rural Connecticut, she does no intention of starving to death - "I am still a parent and I don't want to die," she says - but she does plan to continue the strike for 21 days in order to raise awareness of the dangers facing the people of Darfur.

At the weekend, five days into the hunger strike, she posted a video address on YouTube. "I'm fine," she said. "I'm feeling not at all hungry."

She went on: "A doctor is coming to check me out. And I was thinking, gee, the people in Darfur don't have doctors because Doctors Without Borders was expelled. The well pumps are breaking because Oxfam isn't there to do maintenance."

Two days later she posted on her website a message saying: "At this point I don't think about food. I am weaker and I am mostly in bed. I am clear-minded. I sleep less." She said she was reading Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha and Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi and listening to Bach and Mahler. "I am at peace and busy with my thoughts."

About half a million people are known to have died in the past five years in Darfur and many more have been made homeless. It has been described by the UN as the "world's greatest humanitarian crisis".

Matters were made much worse when the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir expelled 16 aid agencies from Darfur. This followed the International Criminal Court's issuing of an arrest warrant to face charges for his alleged role in the murder, rape, torture and displacement of millions in Sudan.

Farrow had visited Darfur 11 times before she began her hunger strike. Her campaign is designed to put pressure on Barack Obama's administration to get the expelled agencies back to Darfur.

Before embarking on her hunger strike, Farrow took advice from the illusionist David Blaine who once spent 44 days with no food in a Plexiglas case hanging over the Thames, and losing 34lb as a result. "He told me about how to prepare and what to expect," Farrow said. "He said after six days I won't feel hunger."

And she's taken inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, who in May 1932 famously went on a 21-day hunger strike against British rule in India.

So far, 75 people have signed up on Farrow's website to join her fast. Some said they would, like the 64-year-old actress, only drink water; others said they would eat the same rations as those in the refugee camps. 

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