Darfur Fast for Life

We fast in solidarity with the hungry and starving in Darfur and for lasting peace in Sudan
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Archive for June, 2009

Mike Skupin joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 30, 2009 By: Admin Category: Survivor Cast

michael_290You’ll remember Mike “Scoop” Skupin from CBS’s hit reality show SURVIVOR “THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK”. This popular show became the most watched show in the history of television. Mike was the guy who was headed for the winning circle when he tragically passed out into a fire and was medi-vaced by helicopter to the hospital. 5 different burn surgeons told Mike he’d have to have skin graft surgery to repair his hands. After 10 days in the intensive care unit, as Mike was being wheeled to surgery, the chief of surgery removed his bandages and said “I’ve been the Chief of Surgery in the number one burn center in Australia for 35 years and what’s happened to your hands is medically in-explainable.

Mike’s story is incredibly inspirational about how his hands were miraculously healed and life’s lessons he learned in the Outback. Mike talks about how stripped of everything familiar to him including food, shelter, electronics, cell phones, pagers, family and friends, he was able to see so much more clearly the life he was missing out on. Mike is determined to reach peoples souls with a very encouraging and endearing message of family, priorities, and life’s lessons. Mike uses humor, exciting stories, dramatic videos from the Outback and combines them into an adventure story. His popularity has only increased since the show aired in 2001 as his “post-survivor” events have landed him in the national headlines on seven different occasions as he has survived a burning building, a plane crash, being pepper sprayed by activists and a potential US Senate race.

Mike has always been the exception to the rule and has been described as adventurous, a thrill-seeker, and a risk taker. One of four children born just 5 years apart, Mike and family suffered the loss of his father to cancer when he was only four. But with the support of a wonderful mother and God’s blessing, he was overcame that and was successful in school, sports and business career.

Besides motivational speaking and a book he is co-authoring with Steven Covey, Ken Blanchard and Brian Tracy called “Discovering Your Inner Strength) (due out this summer), his career has consisted of office equipment sales where he was ranked #1 nationally 6 years in a row of 3,500 employees, surgical and operating room equipment sales with a billion dollar company where he was ranked 2nd nationally , and serving as a barefoot water-ski instructor. Michael also co-founded a software publishing and distribution company in 1992 where he currently serves as president. Through creative distribution and downloads, his company has produced over 25 million CD’s….more than Brittany Spears and N’sync combined!

Mike has spoken almost 2,000 times to over 8 million people at live events and over one billion people through television, radio and print media. He speaks all over the world at schools, churches, camps, corporate events, stadium events and has made a lifetime commitment to sharing motivational and inspirational messages. Mike has several messages including; Breaking the “I Can’t” Attitude, “How To Motivated in an Unmotivated World”, “Leadership & What makes Great Leaders” “Several Customized Sales Training Programs”, “How to Have a Genuine Relationship with Your Family”, “Destructive Behaviors and How to Avoid them Permanently”

Originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan, Skupin currently lives in White Lake, Michigan with his wife Karen and their 7 children. Michael (20), Kalyn (18), Brandon (13), Emily (12), Jaclyn (11), Leo (7) and Kristie (3).

Dr. Scout Cloud Lee joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 30, 2009 By: Admin Category: Survivor Cast

scout-cloud-leeIf you like Will Rogers , you’ll love Scout! When a director of the Smithsonian Institute met Scout on the set of STAR TREK: The New Generation, he exclaimed,…”Young Lady, I would cast your image in bronze and stand it in the Smithsonian to represent ‘The Spirit of the Pioneering Woman in America today!”

Dr. Scout Cloud Lee is a master of “LIVING YOUR DREAMS”. She is a breathtakingly, inspirational, motivational entertainer…a type of

“Moti-Edu-Tainer”. She is a speaker, author, story-teller par excellent, corporate executive and corporate trainer, song-writer, singer, musician, and artist…and she has a story to tell. Scout is a CHEERLEADER FOR THE 21st CENTURY who knows all about “pulling herself up by the bootstraps”. She has survived divorce, bankruptcy, artificial knee and shoulder replacements, terminal cancer, the near loss of her greatest love, and 38 days on the CBS hit show, Survivor. She has now become a Master of Celebration and a stunning feminine model of “LIVING YOUR DREAMS”.

One of her books, THE CIRCLE IS SACRED, openly presents ancient wisdoms and contemporary spirituality as a vital part of RESPIRITING ORGANIZATIONS in the new millennium. A more recent book, SWORN TO FUN: Celebrate Every Little Thing, is a collection of profound TOOLS for Re-creating our life and our world on a daily basis. She has five completed books currently being pitched, the latest of which is a formula for co-creating with God. It is called, THE FORMULA: Playing With God. Scout is a female Will Rogers, presenting her truths in a riveting, yet simple, spell-binding, down-home way.

How we individually participate in the creation of our lives is at the core of Scout’s work, play, and music. Scout walks her talk! She picked up a hammer and built her own hogan-style home, ranch house, cabins, and ceremonial village. She is internationally known for a communication technology known as “THE EXCELLENCE PRINCIPLE”, and corporate trainings called “THE CHALLENGE OF EXCELLENCE” and “TRACKING PEAK PERFORMANCE”. Some of her steady clients include The United States Postal Service, The Federal Aviation Administration, The Department of Transportation, Ford Motor Company, Kimberly-Clark, The Chickasaw Nation, Johnson and Johnson, and The Institute for Management Studies. Her basis of appeal extends from keynoting IBM International and corporate training in Washington, D.C. to writing and performing music globally.

In the last few years, Scout has added her own original “Global Gypsy Rock and Country Funk Music” and cowgirl poetry to her motivational shows. Her music is UP-BEAT and TOE-TAPPIN’…and deeply moving in it’s message. Scout’s latest CD’s, MOUNTAIN MOVIN’ MEDICINE , LOVE MEDICINE, HOME

ON THE RANCH, AND CLOUD 9 are joyful statements of the truth of her “medicine” for the 21st Century. To experience Scout is to come away knowing that “Dreams Really Do Come True”.

Scout is more than an expert on LIVING YOUR DREAMS. She is a person with charisma and that special ability to walk on stage and grab any audience until all you can hear is the sound of the audience breathing. She is a MOTIVATIONAL MASTER with stage presence, courage, charisma, and a moving message for our New Millennium. She is simply spellbinding as she weaves together original stories, songs, challenges to move us all into the middle of our deepest desires. She’s FUN!

Some of Scout’s favorite topics include: Pumped Up and Powerful, Survive and Thrive, Celebrating Differences Differently, The Change That Changes Changing, and The Formula: For Getting What You Really, Really, Really Want. Scout’s fees are on a sliding scale ranging from $1,200 to 5,000 per day, plus expenses.

Janu Tornell joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 30, 2009 By: Admin Category: Survivor Cast

janutJanu Tornell is of Cuban/Mexican heritage and a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. She currently is a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she teaches Spanish and French. She recently finished her 14 year career as a Folies Bergere lead showgirl at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. She appeared in many media outlets for the Folies Bergere as their spokesperson. In 2004, she left the stage to be part of the cast of Survivor Palau on CBS. “My experience on Survivor is one that will forever be in my heart and mind as it solidified the significance of appreciation for what I am blessed with in this life.” She was asked by her fellow Survivor tribe mate and friend Coby Archa to take part in this fight for the people of Darfur her only answer was “Count me in!” “It is important to stand up for the less fortunate”. She hopes that everyone joins in on this most urgent cause.

Kimberly D. Mullen joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 30, 2009 By: Admin Category: Survivor Cast

kimKimberly D. Mullen currently resides in Manhattan and works in finance. Ms. Mullen was a contestant on Survivor Palau and is a former Miss USA contestant (Miss Ohio USA 2002), fashion model and entertainment professional having lived and worked in Miami, NYC, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Europe. She’s a graduate of The Ohio State University where she earned her degree in International Studies & Arabic, Political Science and Psychology. Ms. Mullen received the prestigious State of Ohio Award of Recognition for her outstanding achievements in academics, social awareness and charitable contributions. She also pursued a Master of Humanities degree as a graduate student at Wright State University. Her interests include traveling, sports (i.e. college football, soccer, etc), learning new languages/cultures, SCUBA diving, working out, contemporary art, movies, literature and skydiving. She supports such charities as UNICEF, International Red Cross, Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness, Tribeca Film Institute, Suicide Awareness, Volunteers of America, and American Cancer Socety.

Day 2

June 29, 2009 By: Admin Category: John Montgomery

I spent some time this morning trying to educate myself more about news on Darfur and actions individuals and organizations could take. I don’t consider myself a dramatically emotional person, but I usually find myself crying when I visit fastdarfur.org. In our culture, I still hear people say things which I would translate, “strong men don’t cry.” Just as sadly, I hear professional women apologizing for tears, at moments when they seem entirely appropriate to me. How has this developed in our culture? Tears are one entirely appropriate response to oppression. Outrage, is at times equally appropriate. Given the facts of atrocities, I wish there were many, many more tears, and that they resulted in more commitment, strength, and action. Indifference is the one reaction that seems entirely unacceptable. . . . If more men could cry, I believe there would be fewer wars.

Day 1

June 28, 2009 By: Admin Category: John Montgomery

On fasting. As I begin, I am uneasy with the public nature of this fast. I think of fasting as more private, personal, spiritual in nature. I was intrigued by an email received by Jon Foreman and Jon’s reply. Both sides of these arguments resonate with me. I am very comfortable and supportive of the aspect of this fast as non-violent protest and to increase pressure for political will. If more people become more educated by this effort, as I have been, I am glad. If one of these people takes action in a way that makes a positive difference in the life of a person suffering in Darfur today, or helps to avert some future genocide, I celebrate. I would be horrified to think I would have any effect of provoking feelings of guilt in others. To do so I would be a hypocrite, as may become clearer below. I start from where I am and move forward; and this would be my encouragement to others. I also disagree with the Wikipedia writer on one point, “A hunger strike cannot be effective if the fact that it is being undertaken is not publicized so as to be known by the people who are to be impressed, concerned or embarrassed by it.” While I believe it is important that this fast be public, the voice of one oppressed person crying in solitude does not go unheard. Nor the person who choses to do so for reasons expressed by others here.

On this community. I am honored to be a part of the community fasting in solidarity. I am humbled to be fasting in solidarity with those in the region of Darfur for whom fasting is not an option. As I begin, I am so aware of the differences. As my wife lies in bed asleep beside me, I have no thought of our security. No soldier with guns will burst through our door. We actually have a door. A refrigerator is around the corner, even though I choose to avoid it. What is going through the mind of Adam, or Dajhima, or Amouna as they rise to a new day as mine is ending? Yet, perhaps our desires for our children are very similar. Our longing for peace, the same.

Why I fast. I fast for peace. Yet, do I really know the whys? A very wise man once asked me why the company I founded gives away half its profits. I gave him my standard 2 minute answer to the question. He pondered, and then said, “So you don’t really know why you do this.” I have never forgotten the wisdom of his observation. Sometimes we think we know, but do we really? So instead of trying to answer this question, I thought I’d give my history with respect to genocide. This is not world history, it is simply my personal history:

Armenia. I was not alive. I feel no responsibility. Yet somehow, I am connected.

First nations, e.g. the trail of tears. The United States is my country. I associate with the people group we call Americans. I am proud of some of our values and traditions. Others make me cringe or recoil. We have our own genocide. Some day an American president will call it what it was and symbolically ask forgiveness. Could it be the current president? Will this happen in my lifetime? Did my ancestors take part? Have I? Yes, for every thought of prejudice, for any thought that borders ignorance approaching hatred, I have taken part.

The Holocaust. As a boy in 8th grade history class I first learned about genocide. I was incredulous. I could understand how nations could fight over a border dispute or control or power or “preemptively.” But I had no concept of people killing another person nor being purposefully cruel to another human being because of race, skin color, physical features, or religion. For my Jewish friends, this was not new history; for me it was an awakening. One from which I could not go back or hide. I can’t explain why, but the injustice of it, the cruelty, would not leave my consciousness. I didn’t choose genocide as a cause; it chose me as a life commitment. I believe it started at age 13. Although only a couple of decades in prior history, this genocide still had the aspect of ancient history. I believed “never again.” I was so glad we had the example that would cause us to never let it happen again.

Cambodia. I was 19. This was the first genocide on my watch and it felt that way. But I felt utter powerlessness. Fully distraught. It was half a world away. It might as well have been another planet.

Rwanda. I was distracted in starting a new company. The father of young children. Yet I can close my eyes and still see the images of the first report I read of a plane going down with two African presidents. Then more images on the news. The world was now a much smaller place. This was on my watch, and in my back yard. I was not powerless, but I failed the Rwandan people. The Interahamwe played the Western and outside world and won, long enough to take the life of 1 in 8 Rwandans. Afterwards, I knew I was one with Rwandans. I had failed my own people.

Darfur. I know and have met Darfuris. This is the first genocide declared a genocide by a currently serving American president. I no longer feel powerless. I am not ignorant of the atrocities. I commit to acting. I am not alone.

Fasting

June 24, 2009 By: Admin Category: i-ACT

“We run with only the clothes on our body, nothing else.” I’m trying to go through the day thinking of that first day story I have heard over and over again, the escape from Darfur. Today, I am fasting water-only. The people fleeing their village do not have time to grab provisions for the long walk across the desert. They usually have no idea where they are going or if they will be chased and killed; many are. They do not have the luxury of water, as I do.

I have read most, if not all, of the journals submitted by Darfur Fast for Life participants, and so many mention how our experience cannot come close to that of the displaced because we know when and where our next meal will come. It is absolutely true. They, on the other hand, run during the night and hide during the day. Some are ambushed at water points, janjaweed knowing that their targets will be driven by thirst to where water might be found.

Through one day of fasting, I am experiencing a little headache–but no fear or uncertainty. I have full bottles of water and snacks that I can eat anytime, if I wish. I have never in my life had to wonder IF I’ll have a next meal or next drink of water. One of our consistent problems back home is having to decide WHERE to go eat: should it be mexican; middle eastern; a turkey burger at Fatburger; fish tacos at Sharkeyz; the local Redondo Beach Cafe; GoodStuff’s healthy meals on the strand; huge plates at all-you-can-eat The Wok Mongolian BBQ; and so many more. Now I’m really wanting to eat, but not tuna and nuts, our staple food in Chad.

It is now dark in Guereda, the little town we are in. Thinking about the people that are just a few miles away living in refugee camp Kounoungou, I know that for them, during the escape, the darkness gave them some security. They would restart their walk towards the west and the Chad border–hungry, thirsty, afraid. I wonder if the parents would lie to their children and tell them, “It’s OK, we will soon find food and water,” even though many never did and were left in the desert. I think I would lie to my children, and probably to myself.

Peace,
Gabriel

Randy Newcomb

June 22, 2009 By: cory Category: Randy Newcomb

Humanity United CEO, Randy Newcomb, joins fast! More to come.

Day 2:::

June 21, 2009 By: cory Category: Joey Cheek

A few months after my final Olympic Games in 2006 I was invited to travel to Chad to visit with refugees with the American Red Cross. We traveled from camp to camp, and although the heat of summer had long since passed it was still dry and hot in that region of the world. We visited a camp of more than 30,000 people, mostly women and children from Darfur. The children laughed and followed us around giggling and smiling for pictures (they loved to see their images reflected back on the tiny LCD screens of our digital cameras). When we asked why there were so few men in this camp we were told that some of the men had stayed behind to fight for their homes, and try and raise crops on their native lands in case it became safe to return. Many more had been killed, leaving behind their wives and children who had walked miles through the desert to arrive in this camp alone and with nothing.

While we were in this camp we were invited to the distribution tent where rations from the World Food Program were being handed out. The women patiently stood in a long line and as they wove through a giant tent they collected their share of grain (sorghum or wheat), legumes, salt, and oil for cooking. Each amount was carefully measured out and then poured into well worn bags or jugs then placed on the women’s head and she would walk back to the tiny little square of land in the camp where a plastic tarp was the roof of her and her children’s home. They told us that the women would mix the grain and legumes and oil and make something like a cake that would be the family meal, twice per day.

Today I ate something like the equivalent of those rations. A handful of rice and beans in the morning and the same for a small dinner. All told this was just about 1000 calories. Refugee rations will keep someone alive, but it will also keep someone from ever reaching their potential as a person. At that level, children will not grow to the size they are meant to be, the brain doesn’t develop to the level that it could, and no one is never really satisfied. Of course, it is a much better alternative than eating nothing at all.



We know that one of the most effective tactics used against the millions of refugees and internally displaced people within Darfur is attacks against humanitarian groups who bring in these life giving supplies. It is a despicable act of cowardice against defenseless women and children and those that would aid the innocent. The thing that struck me about that camp was not that the people I met were in imminent danger, but how very vulnerable they were. There is no where to go from these camps. If the food does not make it in to the camps, it is only a matter of days before people are starving. Recently reports have been trickling out of Chad that in addition to back and forth attacks by Chad and Sudanese governments, there have been attacks on refugee camps containing these tens of thousands of women and children.

I am grateful that today I got my rations, I hope our political leaders can find a way for the millions of innocents to at least get theirs.



– Joey

June 20th, 2009

June 21, 2009 By: Admin Category: Joey Cheek

The sun is now setting on world refugee day and the clock is quickly closing in on my first willing 24 hours without eating. I’ve almost completed day one of my three day fast for Darfur. I realized today, that with the exception of an occasional stomach bug, I’ve never in my life gone more than a few hours without eating. What a remarkable thing… That I have spent almost 30 years on this earth and never known what it feels like to go to bed on an empty stomach. I know that tonight across America there will be millions unwillfully going hungry, and worldwide more than a billion will do so. I know that I am blessed for having never faced a hunger for the very basic needs of humanity. That is what makes this fast so important to me.

When this fast was first mentioned to me I really didn’t see much merit in my participation. I have spoken out about the suffering in Darfur for a number of years. I have felt an activist’s frustration in pouring your heart in an issue to see little. and sometimes even negative, progress. I have also seen some of the most brilliant and caring individuals who have spent their life trying to end these atrocities against our fellow man. As a now former athlete in a small sport, my media star does not burn quite as brightly as it once did, so I was not sure that my fasting would really have any impact in the world other than me being somewhat cranky (I am renowned amongst my family and friends as being INTOLERABLE to be around when I haven’t eaten). But over the last few days I have begun to think about this fast differently.

I sent out notes to friends and family and told them I would be participating in a fast for Darfur, leading up to my 30th birthday. Almost instantly word began to trickle in from athletes, friends, people who followed me as a speedskater but that I have not met, that they would be joining with me as I fast. Each of these people are willing to make a sacrifice for people they have never met, simply because they feel it is the right thing to do! There are many terrible things that happen in this world, and the murdering in Darfur must end, but I constantly find my faith in people renewed. This fast itself may not help to end suffering, but I guarantee it will make us more aware of the injustices around us. Once people become truly aware, then the world begins to change.

These people in Darfur, our brothers and sisters, can be saved – lets keep up the fight.

Joey

PS – Apologies for any spelling/grammatical mistakes, I’m not the most careful editor even when my head is totally clear!

Day 3

June 20, 2009 By: cory Category: Mia Farrow

My thoughts are with the refugees in Chad and Darfur today. It is National Refugee Day on Saturday and our leaders in Washington seem to be rallying to the cause. Unfortunately, Secretary Clinton broke her elbow yesterday on a way to an appearance with Angelina Jolie to commemorate the day. Hope this amazing woman, who has done and is doing so much to bring the plight of refugees into the public eye, makes a quick recovery.


Again, Gabriel Stauring’s video from Day 5 in the camp and the teams’ blogs really inspired me to stay on the fast for MOST of the day. The picture of the children, unsmiling, fighting for crumbs of cookies is heartbreaking.


Now let me be honest – I did break my fast 4 hours early. I am at work, on my third 14 hour day. Hypoglycemia, I am realizing, really IS a real thing. I got dizzy, lost concentration, and broke down in tears in my trailer. After my cry I had a banana and some peanut butter crackers at my boyfriend’s urging. (Or should I say – at my boyfriend’s threat of committing me to a mental institution.)


Since I am now a bit more lucid, I am thinking about all I’ve read about women and children, whole families in Darfur being burned out of their homes and having to walk for weeks or months with little or no food. I think of a 12 year old boy’s courage who watched his brother and best friend die of starvation and dehydration on the long lonely march. I picture him sitting under a tree, exhausted and without hope but in the end choosing to go on.


You, little one, are inspiring me to go easy on myself for having “failed”. I will probably never experience anything close to the horrific challenges you continue to endure. But if I do, I hope that I will be as brave and strong like you and like all of the people of Darfur.


I will meet you one day. I will share cookies with you under a tree. I will celebrate your hard won freedom. But right now, I Thank-you.


You have given me hope.

Rabbis Across the Globe Join in Fast for Darfur

June 18, 2009 By: Admin Category: Rabbi Saperstein


At least 80 rabbis in five countries will fast with Rabbi David Saperstein “as a protest and as an emblem of solidarity” with the people of Darfur



From sundown last night until sundown tonight, 80 rabbis across five countries are participating in a water-only fast to call attention to the lack of aid for victims of the genocide in Darfur. In addition, many others, including cantors and lay leaders, have joined in the fast.

Yesterday afternoon, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, attended a meeting at the State Department, where U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration expressed his appreciation and encouragement for all those participating in the fast.


Rabbi Saperstein began a three-day, water-only fast on the evening of Monday, June 15th, and invited rabbis of all four major streams of American Judaism (Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox) to join him for the final stretch of his fast. Participants include rabbis from the United States, Canada, Israel, Mexico and England; a full list is included below.

On April 27th, Rabbi Saperstein was arrested in his third act of civil disobedience calling attention to the situation in Darfur, this time with longtime civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis, other members of Congress and leaders of Darfur advocacy groups. He now joins a long line of politicians, celebrities and activists in carrying on a water-only fast begun that day by actress Mia Farrow to call for the restoration of humanitarian aid to the people of Darfur. On May 9th, Farrow’s doctor ordered her to end her hunger strike due to serious health risks; since then, others have carried on the fast for her. More information about the chain of fasters can be found at www.fastdarfur.org.

Speaking to the importance of the fast, Rabbi Saperstein issued the following statement: “Activists around the world have committed to continuously pounding the drumbeat for Darfur. U.S. Special Envoy Scott Gration is working hard to negotiate a restoration of the humanitarian aid and to restart a just peace process, and recent reports indicate that he is making progress in his negotiations. Yet negotiations about returning aid groups have not yet achieved real results, so beginning last night, the stomachs of 80 of our Jewish leaders go hungry to draw attention to those dying in Darfur, urging the restoration of aid to the people of Sudan.


“Fasting is a traditional part of Judaism, usually accompanying the memory of a great tragedy or deep repentance. But here we must do a fast as a protest and as an emblem of solidarity with the individuals in the camps, sharing the plight of too many in Darfur –water but too little food. Let us do everything possible to ensure that this will be the last fast necessary to draw attention to the urgent need for both relief and long-lasting peace in Sudan.”


It has been more than three months since Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir expelled humanitarian aid groups from the country. Despite assurances that Sudan will allow international NGOs into the country and close existing humanitarian gaps, the situation has worsened. Aid groups report that efforts to send aid to those who need it are unsustainable and insufficient. The onset of the rainy season will likely lead to mass migration and water-borne disease epidemics in internally displaced persons camps, putting, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon predicted, more than 1 million people at life-threatening risk.



Follow along with live updates of the fast at Twitter.com/theRAC, and visit the RACblog for blog posts from Rabbi Saperstein and participating rabbis.


Partial list of rabbis fasting for Darfur:


· Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (Washington, DC)


· Rabbi Alan Henkin, Union for Reform Judaism Congregational Support Center – West (Northridge, CA)


· Rabbi Alan Lachtman, Temple Beth David (Temple City, CA)


· Rabbi Alyssa Ralston, Congregation Rodef Sholom (San Rafael, CA)


· Rabbi Avi Schulman, Temple Beth Torah (Freemont, CA)


· Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer, Loyal Marymount University Hillel (Los Angeles, CA)


· Rabbi Camille Angel, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav (San Francisco, CA)


· Rabbi Douglas Kohn, Congregation Emanu El (San Bernadino, CA)


· Rabbi Eve Ben-Ora, Jewish Community Center San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)


· Rabbi Haim Asa, Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA)


· Rabbi Hillel Cohn, Congregation Emanu El (San Bernadino, CA)


· Rabbi Jonathan Kupetz, Temple Beth Israel (Pomona, CA)


· Rabbi Marty Lawson, Temple Emanu-El (San Diego, CA)


· Rabbi Linda Bertenthal, Union for Reform Judaism (Encino, CA)


· Rabbi Roberto Graetz, Temple Isaiah (Lafayette, CA)


· Rabbi Steven Rueben, Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation (Pacific Palisades, CA)


· Rabbi Elisheva Salamo, Keddem Congregation (Palo Alto, CA)


· Rabbi Pam Frydman Baugh, OHALAH: Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal (San Francisco, CA)


· Rabbi Karen Bender, Temple Judea (Tarzana, CA)


· Rabbi Leah Lewis, Leo Baeck Temple (Los Angeles, CA)


· Rabbi Stanley Kessler, Beth El Temple (West Hartford, CT)


· Rabbi Charles Feinberg, Adas Israel Congregation (Washington, DC)


· Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Ohev Sholom (Washington, DC)


· Rabbi David Oler, Congregation Beth Or (Deerfield, IL)


· Rabbi David Young, Temple Sinai of North Dade (North Miami Beach, FL)


· Rabbi Isaac Serotta, Lakeside Congregation (Highland Park, IL)


· Rabbi Laurence Edwards, Congregation Or Chadash (Chicago, IL)


· Rabbi Michael Zedek, Emanuel Congregation (Chicago, IL)


· Rabbi Eric Siroka (Temple Beth El, South Bend, IN)


· Rabbi Susan Silverman (Israel)


· Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner, The Temple-Congregation B’nai Jehudah (Overland Park, KS)


· Rabbi Debbie Stiel, Temple Beth Sholom (Topeka KS)


· Rabbi Debra Kassoff, Temple Emanu-El (Marblehead, MA)


· Rabbi Jonathan Kraus, Beth El Temple Center (Belmont, MA)


· Rabbi Raphael Kanter, Tifereth Israel Congregation (New Bedford, MA)


· Rabbi Shoshana Perry, Congregation Shalom (N. Chelmsford, MA)


· Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Potomac, MD)


· Rabbi Susan Shankman, Washington Hebrew Congregation (Potomac, MD)


· Rabbi Phil Posner (Ajijic, Mexico)


· Rabbi Adam Spilker, Mount Zion Temple (St Paul, MN)


· Rabbi Jared Saks, Temple Israel (Minneapolis, MN)


· Rabbi Alan Cohen, Congregation Beth Shalom in Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)


· Rabbi James Stone Goodman, Congregation Neve Shalom (Creve Coeur, MO) and Central Reform Congregation (St. Louis, MO)


· Rabbi Batsheva Appel, Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (Jackson, MS)


· Rabbi Batsheva Meiri, Congregation Beth Hatephila (Asheville, NC)


· Rabbi Bradley Bleefeld, Temple Beth Hillel-Beth Abraham of Carmel (Vineland, NJ)


· Rabbi David Nesson, Morristown Jewish Center (Morristown, NJ)


· Rabbi Debra Hachen, Temple Beth El of Northern Valley (Closter, NJ)


· Rabbi Geri Chaikin, Temple Shaari Emeth (Manlapan, NJ)


· Rabbi Rabbi Kim S. Geringer, Temple Sha’arey Ha-Yam (Barnegat, NJ)


· Marcus Burstein, Temple Har Shalom (Warren, NJ)


· Rabbi Michael Goldstein, Temple Beth Torah (Ocean, NJ)


· Rabbi Michael Pont, Temple Beth Ahm (Aberdeen, NJ)


· Rabbi Gerald M. Kane, Temple Beth-El (Las Cruces, NM)


· Rabbi Avi Weiss, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (Bronx, NY)


· Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell (Temple Concord, Binghamton, NY)


· Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz (Central Conference of American Rabbis (New York City, NY)


· Rabbi Jennifer Jaech, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester (Croton-on-Hudson, NY)


· Rabbi Josh Davidson, Temple Beth El North Westchester (Chappaqua, NY)


· Rabbi Marim Charry (Great Neck, NY)


· Rabbi Mark Hurvitz, Davka.org (New York City, NY)


· Rabbi Paula Drill, Orangetown Jewish Center (Orangeburg, NY)


· Rabbi Paula Winnig, Temple Sinai of Long Island (Lawrence, NY)


· Rabbi Theodore Tsuroka, Temple Isaiah of Great Neck (Great Neck, NY)


· Rabbi Yocheved Mintz, Valley Outreach Synagogue (Las Vegas, NV)


· Rabbi Eddie Sukol (The Shul, Pepper Pike, OH)


· Rabbi Frank Muller, Congregation Rodef Shalom (Youngstown, OH)


· Rabbi Stephen Wise, Shaarei-Beth El Congregation (Oakville, ON)


· Rabbi Jack Paskoff, Congregation Shaarai Shomayim (Lancaster, PA)


· Rabbi Merryl Crean, Martins Run Senior Residential Community (Media, PA)


· Rabbi Michael Holzman, Congregation Rodeph Shalom (Philadelphia, PA)


· Rabbi Robert Rubin, Adath Israel (Merion Station, PA)


· Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (Jenkintown, PA)


· Rabbi Brian Zimmerman, URJ Congregational Support Center – South (Dallas, TX)


· Rabbi Nancy Kasten (Dallas, TX)


· Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, New North London Synagogue (Finchley, London, UK)


· Rabbi Gilah Dror, Rodef Sholom Temple (Hampton, VA)


· Rabbi Jeffrey Saxe, Temple Rodef Shalom (Falls Church, VA)


· Rabbi Jonathan Brown, Beth El Congregation (Winchester, VA)


· Rabbi Rosalind Gold, Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation (Reston, VA)

Maria’s Second Blog

June 18, 2009 By: Admin Category: Maria Bello

June 18, 2009
Fast day 2


Maria Bello’s Fast for Darfur from fastdarfur on Vimeo.

I’m hungry and a bit bitchy today. Couldn’t sleep last night as empty stomach makes for noisy head. Noisy with petty concerns and vivid memories of times I have let down the people I love most. Funny, how when we are not “stuffing” our emotions with food, we are faced with icky feelings that we’d rather not look at.


I tried my best to focus on the suffering people of Darfur. I read Gabriel’s blog and watched the videos from the last 4 days in the camp. And he wrote me about Achta, his friend who had lost two babies, one during their escape from Darfur and one at the camp. He was going to see her because she just had a new baby and she named it after him!


And I emailed my Darfuri friend who has inspired me to do the fast. She has gone through so much and still would do anything to help her people. She reminded me that there is a straw that breaks the camel’s back, like in Iran right now. Enough tiny voices speak up for enough time that they will eventually become a loud chorus and that chorus will eventually drown out the evil and the change will come.


Now at work, I am slowly but surely feeling better. Hypoglycemia is a real thing. It can make one crazy. But so can seeing your husband killed with a machete in front of you or your baby impaled with a sword and thrown on a fire.


With that thought, maybe I’ll keep going for another day….


Peace

STARVING FOR DARFUR

June 17, 2009 By: Admin Category: Maria Bello

Maria Bello


June 17, 2009


Today I begin my fast for Darfur. My friend Blake Mycoskie passed the baton to me, so here I am. Fasting.


I have done fasts in the past, (mainly to shrink my ass or enlarge my spirit!) but have never done one in solidarity and protest. Never drank only water for three days without some kind of selfish motivation to see me through. Now, here I am outside of Boston, Mass. doing one of the funniest movies I have ever been in and I am choosing to start this fast today.


I have been so happy lately, which is somewhat rare for me. Laughs a minute with Adam Sandler and Kevin James and the crew. I live at the beach and have the day off today to just kick around. I should be eating lobster at Lobsta Land. But NOOOOO, instead I am trying to mix things up by drinking very hot, warm, lukewarm or cold water throughout the day, hoping that my body functions that are usually awakened with caffeine will be woken up. And Why?


Because people are dying.


Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in Darfur have been systematically murdered in Omar al-Bashir’s campaign of genocide and millions have been left homeless. Now, after years of continuing suffering, these courageous people have to face starvation on top of murder, mutilation, displacement and rape.


So I am fasting in solidarity with my friend, Niemat Ahmadi whose family and friends are hungry and displaced in the camps in Darfur. I am fasting for the 40 young girls (as young as 4) who were brutally raped by the Janjaweed militia as reported in Halima Bashir’s incredible book, “Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur”. I am fasting because I am a mother and a human being, and because I know that if I am not apart of the solution I am apart of the problem.


After 18 hours of not eating, I am now staring at the bag of sourdough pretzels on my kitchen counter. I am salivating. I am “starving”. ( Like I will ever really know what starving is really like. )


I don’t know how much this fast will accomplish. Maybe a person or two will feel moved to go to the website and find out what they can do to help to stop the genocide and with enough of our voices we can finally put an end to it. Or maybe it will simply wake me up out of the haze of being a working mother, who is constantly worried about being able to support her son in this economy and if the new lines on my lips mean my career is over.


Either way, today the people of Dafur stand clearly and strongly in my mind and I just want them to know, they are not alone.


Mia, Richard, Pam, Blake, Rabbi and all the rest of you around the world who are joining this fast, I’m humbled and honored to be apart of this club.


More tomorrow.

Rabbi Saperstein BLOG 6/17/09

June 17, 2009 By: Admin Category: Rabbi Saperstein

The latest on Darfur


I just walked out of a meeting with General Scott Gration, President Obama’s Special Envoy to Sudan.  Here’s the latest on Darfur and Sudan:


With regards to the internally displaced persons camps in Darfur, General Gration says that the efforts of the U.S., international community, outside groups to encourage the Sudanese government to allow aid back in is being felt with food aid growing again and approaching the levels it was before the eviction of the major aid groups. In other areas, such as health provision, the improvements are not yet so great but progress is being made. With some aid groups returning, or rather differently named aid groups being allowed entrance, there is some hope for the humanitarian situation in Sudan, although there is little question that all of the humanitarian groups will be operating very much at the mercy of the Sudanese government.  The Christian Science Monitor reports, “For now, aid officials believe many short-term needs are being met by aid groups and United Nations agencies that remained in Darfur. But they warn that the long-term impact could be devastating, particularly with the rainy season starting this month.”  It is critical that aid groups are allowed to enter and work quickly at high capacity.


In the meantime, the New York Times reports that attacks on civilians and arbitrary arrests in Darfur continue, and violence in South Sudan has increased to a level greater than that in Darfur.  This weekend, dozens were killed in an attack on an aid convoy in South Sudan.


General Gration recently returned from a whirlwind tour meeting with key international players who can contribute to a comprehensive peace process for Sudan.  As the North-South peace agreement remains tenuous, and as an election on Sudan’s leadership and a referendum on the future of Sudan’s unity approach, the crisis in Darfur is one of many factors General Gration is focusing on.  The State Department is hosting delegations from all the involved parties next week to try to get the peace process on the South back on track.


Tonight over 70 rabbis from around the world will be joining me in my solidarity fast for Darfur.  Their efforts, and the activism of citizens around the world, have helped immensely in drawing the world’s attention to the crisis in Darfur, making it clear that increased death rates are not acceptable.  Now is the time to turn the increased attention into meaningful results on the ground.

Maria Bello Joins Darfur Fast For Life

June 17, 2009 By: Admin Category: Maria Bello

Ruth Messinger’s Journal #2

June 16, 2009 By: Admin Category: Ruth W. Messinger

I have found that access to water makes a difference in fasting. It is not only the water itself but the act of putting something in my mouth. This explains why in some situations where people are starving, they are known to eat dirt.


A certain level of acceptance has settled in—as I walk through my day and watch other people eat, I think, food is for others. At the same time, there is the dull headache and increased level of confusion when tackling various intellectual tasks.


I have thought often today of the people I met in various camps on my trips to Darfur and Chad. Do they have food? Are they hungry? In pain? How is it possible to deal with all of the most basic life challenges when one is perpetually hungry and somewhat confused?


I feel a connection to those who are joining the fasting chain, even those I don’t know, because they have decided to put themselves out somewhat in order to create a link to the people of Darfur.

Rabbi Saperstein BLOG, 06/16/09

June 16, 2009 By: Admin Category: Rabbi Saperstein

Why I am fasting for Darfur.


Today I find myself once again fasting for Darfur. My first fast for Darfur, which I did only a few days after being arrested with Representative John Lewis, four other members of Congress, and leaders of Darfur advocacy groups, was undertaken to underline the urgency of the suffering in the internally displaced persons camps in Darfur after President Bashir had expelled over a dozen aid groups from the region.


Now, though, three months later, as I take up the same fast again, the situation has not materially improved.  Aid groups report that while they have covered some gaps, their efforts are neither sustainable nor sufficient.  Food and other supplies have been unable to be pre-positioned before the rainy season in necessary amounts. Aid groups report that hunger and water-borne diseases will spread in the rainy season, with feared results of mass migration. Children are disproportionately susceptible to the results of insufficient sanitation, food and medical supplies. Families in other parts of Sudan also suffer as aid groups were pushed out.


All this while our hopes for a lasting peace in Sudan also dwindle, as reports of clashes in South Sudan has raised death rates to levels even higher than that of Darfur.


On my last day of fasting, I am honored that rabbis from around the world will join in the fast.  Fasting is a traditional part of Judaism, usually accompanying the memory of a great tragedy or deep repentance.  But we cannot let this fast be a yearly activity, as our traditional fasts are.  If that is the case, it will mean the world will have allowed the children of Darfur to slowly die, not the quick deaths at the hands of the Janjaweed, but slow deaths of hunger and disease, while promises and negotiations fail to return life-saving aid to these displaced people.  Let us do everything possible to ensure that this will be the last fast necessary to draw attention to the urgent need for both relief and long-lasting peace for the people of Sudan.


Together, activists around the world have committed to continuously pounding the drumbeat for Darfur, and Special Envoy Gration is working hard to negotiate a restoration of the humanitarian aid and to restart a just peace process and recent reports are that he is making progress in his negotiations. Yet they have still not been able to stop the suffering that is at once urgent and slow-moving. Negotiations about returning aid groups have not yet achieved real results. So, the stomachs of one group of our nation’s moral leaders will be hungering this Thursday to draw attention to people who are dying – urging the restoration of aid to the people of Sudan.

Ruth Messinger’s Journal

June 15, 2009 By: Admin Category: Ruth W. Messinger

I am already amazed at the power of announcing that a cause is worth fasting for. People have sent e-mails with all sorts of opinions, and have approached me at events to wish me luck and ask about my motivation. Many people have inquired about the fast and many more have visited our website to join up to fast in solidarity.

It is amazing when you have made a decision to fast how quickly it appears that food is everywhere; not even actual food—that I anticipated—but photos of food, articles about eating… as I go through my day and absorb just how much food is around us, I now think about Darfur, in a tangible reminder of the daily suffering experienced on the other side of the world as we concern ourselves with restaurants, dieting and organic produce.

Every day I receive a variety of Darfur-related emails which I scan, read and delete as a matter of course. But today I am downloading each and reading it through carefully to keep front-and-center what I am doing and why. This fast is reminding me of the people on whose behalf we are organized and organizing that they may some day soon resume their lives.

James Michael joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 11, 2009 By: Admin Category: James Michael



My pre-fast blog

June 10, 2009 By: Admin Category: Richard Rockefeller

I need to begin with a disclaimer: I have been closely associated with DoctorsWithout Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres/MSF-USA for many years, as chairman of their US advisory board. I am not joining this fast in that capacity. For reasons expressed in a March 27, 2009 New York Times op ed, MSF has stayed out of Sudanese politics. I fully support this stance, and therefore must reiterate that I join FastDarfur as a private citizen acting on my own conscience, not as a representative of MSF.

I will begin a 3 day fast on Friday, June 12. I don’t know what effect this small action will have, but it feels right to put a little fat (if not skin) in the game. It motivates me to think about other ways I can help as well. In trying to figure this out I came across a terrific piece in the soon-to-be-published issue of the New York Review of Books by Nick Kristof. Though conceding the complexity of the situation, he does conclude with six very reasonable-sounding actions which our government (not you or I, alas) can take:
• Bring together members of Darfuri civil society—doctors, educators, leaders, and businesspeople among them—to form a common negotiating platform, so that there can be constructive peace talks (since the most plausible path to a solution is a negotiated peace agreement). A prominent Sudanese tycoon and philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim, is now pushing this approach in a project called Mandate Darfur. Sudan’s government blocked the Mandate Darfur peace talks this spring, with barely a murmur of protest from around the world, and it’s crucial that international pressure be focused on Khartoum to allow this initiative to proceed. This may be Sudan’s best hope.
• Apply pressure on the Sudanese government to make concessions so that such a negotiated deal is more likely, while also putting pressure on Abdel Wahid and the rebels. One of the basic problems is that the international community hasn’t applied credible sticks or carrots to Khartoum. Carrots are difficult politically, but we can do more with sanctions (especially, going after the wealth of the Sudanese leaders in foreign banks), with international pressure from Arab countries (here Qatar has been helpful), and with military measures.
• These military measures can include a no-fly zone. This doesn’t mean shooting any planes out of the air. Rather, when a Sudanese military aircraft bombs civilians in defiance of the UN ban on offensive military flights, Western forces can destroy a Sudanese fighter plane or helicopter gunship on the ground a few days later. For this purpose, the US could use aircraft from its military base in Djibouti, and France could use aircraft at its base in Abeché, in Chad. In a classified memo to the White House last year, the special envoy for Sudan, Ambassador Richard Williamson, also outlined other possible military measures, including jamming all telephones, radio signals, and television signals in Khartoum.
• Nudge China into suspending arms deliveries to Sudan. This would terrify the Khartoum regime, at a time when it is arming for renewed war with the south, for China is its main arms supplier and trainer of its military pilots. China won’t suspend its oil purchases from Sudan, but it is conceivable that China would suspend military sales (which yield modest sums for China relative to the cost to its image).
• Encourage some elements in the official Sudanese leadership to overthrow President Bashir, by suggesting that if this happens and they take steps to end the violence in Darfur, the US will normalize relations with Sudan. The other leaders will not be indicted by the ICC, so if they remove Bashir they can remove the albatross from Sudan’s neck. These other leaders also have blood on their hands, but they are far better than Bashir.
• Give a signal that the US has no objection to its allies selling anti-aircraft missiles to south Sudan (that is easier than providing the missiles ourselves). This would deny Khartoum air control over the south, and thus reduce the chance that the north will attack the south and revive the north–south civil war.
Kristof adds that “The lesson from places like Kosovo is that the most urgent need is less for sophisticated technical solutions than for political will to face the problem squarely.”
That’s right. Can we find a way to translate the energy and dedication of FastDarfur into political will? I very much hope so.
Richard Rockefeller, MD

Ruth Messinger joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 09, 2009 By: Admin Category: Ruth W. Messinger

Ruth Messinger on Vimeo.

AJWS President Asks Jewish Community to Fast with Her for Darfur
Ruth Messinger to Jewish Community: Let our hunger instruct us to listen and act!


To express solidarity with the people of Darfur, Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), will fast on the 15th and 16th of June and has invited the American Jewish community to fast with her for at least one of the two days.


Messinger’s fast is part of the Darfur Fast for Life “fasting chain,” involving numerous congressmen and women, activists and entertainers who have agreed to fast in successive two-day blocks. The AJWS president says she is fasting so she can try to appreciate how it feels to be hungry and how difficult it is to function under those circumstances. AJWS has circulated a petition, along with a videotaped statement, to more than 70,000 supporters encouraging them to sign a pledge to join her.


“Each day, in Darfur, mothers and fathers look into the suffering eyes of their children knowing, like all parents, that they would sacrifice anything for their children not to suffer, but also knowing that there is nothing they can do as long as they remain in limbo,” Messinger said in her videotaped statement. “A person can suffer no greater indignity than not being able to feed his or her children or prevent dehydration that is often deadly.


“As difficult as it may be for us to function at a high level, during our fasts, this type of hunger is an everyday reality for hundreds of millions of people worldwide; it prevents children from learning and adults from working productively to sustain economies; but just as importantly, it undermines the very kind of belief in a better future that is the lifeline for the world’s most vulnerable.


“For those of us fasting for Darfur, our hunger is a choice and a temporary state… But there are hundreds of millions worldwide – in Darfur and elsewhere – who feel powerless. They are crying, and we must hear them. Fast with me and let our hunger instruct us to listen. Fast with me and let our hunger instruct us to act.”


To view Messinger’s entire statement and sign the petition, please visit ajws.org/darfurfast.


About American Jewish World Service


American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community.


SOURCE American Jewish World Service

Richard Rockefeller Joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 09, 2009 By: Admin Category: Richard Rockefeller

June 08, 2009 By: Admin Category: Abigail Disney

I have failed. I am truly, sincerely sorry. I apologize to those of you on this site who have fasted as you’ve promised, to those of you who have worked so hard to make this site the amazing place of solidarity that it is, and to those of you who thought of me as someone who could stand by her word.

I have learned a lot from this attempt to fast, much of it about myself and my own limitations, and none of that is appropriate for this blog. Suffice to say, however, I am grateful for the opportunity the fast gave me for some much needed reflection on the role of food in my life, and on my flaws both large and small.

But, this is truly not about me.

Here is what this IS about: the difficulties of being thrust against your will from the only home you’ve ever known, of having had to walk for many miles and days across an unforgiving landscape, of having to contend with fear and physical pain at every step–not only your own but those of the people you love most in the world— the strain of having to try to protect your children from your own position of powerlessness, of the constant gnawing anxiety and uncertainty that comes with not knowing what tomorrow might hold for you, or where you will lay your head in a week, whether or not you will ever be able to go back to your home and the home of your ancestors, and whether this nightmare will last for a week–a year–a decade–a generation–or forever.

And all this you do while contending with a pain in your stomach. The cure for this pain is simple, and one you know well. But the cure is far off and not in your power.

All this you do knowing that your children feel the same pain you do, perhaps worse.

All this you try to do with the spirit of love and generosity required of you as a parent. And even perhaps with a sense of humor or optimism. It may sound impossible, yet in the people I have known who have suffered exactly all of these things, I have seen great humor and optimism and while these things have always astounded me, I now view them with newfound awe and respect.
I failed with none of these millstones around my neck. Would I be one of the bodies littering the road on the walk to the camp? How, then would my children have fared, and who would have cared for them in my absence? How many people and personalities were “selected out” along the way?

I have now come to see the camps as not only overflowing with the men and women I see, but also with the ghosts of the ones like me who never got there. I am riddled with weaknesses I never really needed to reflect upon because the circumstances of my life have never brought me into contention with them. I am buoyed by luxuries and comforts so prevalent I cannot even see them. I am lucky beyond measure. I thank God for my blessings.

And I recommit to do my best by these women and men–they deserve food in their bellies, roofs over their heads and peace for their families.

Mohamed Suleiman joins Darfur Fast for Life

June 06, 2009 By: Admin Category: Mohamed Suleiman

While today I start fasting in solidarity with my people in Darfur, fasting is a norm in many homes and villages across Darfur. The world may react to the blood scenes or dead bodies to acknowledge that there are atrocities committed by the regime in Khartoum. Yet starvation and thirst could escape photographic or audio capture. This what Albashir counts on to keep Genocide grinding the lives of Darfur and squeeze life out of them. It is an evil plan of the Government of Sudan to rid Darfur of its original people. Expelling 13 international NGOs is a deliberate step to impose harsh living conditions further in Darfur. This expulsion has only one outcome: starvation, thirst, disease in Darfur.
I salute Mia Farrow who initiated this fast for Darfur and for her tireless work to bring justice and lasting peace to the people of Darfur. I salute as well all the decent people who had and are participating in this noble human gesture: Fasting for Darfur.

Mohamed Suleiman

Pam Omidyar rejoins the fast

June 05, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pam Omidyar

June 5, 2009

This weekend, I am going to re-join the fast, water-only, for two days. It is important that the chain not be broken. We continue to fast — in solidarity with those who are being denied humanitarian aid in Darfur, who are being terrorized, bombed, and marginalized by their own government’s consent, all while those in power continue to make strong pronouncements against Khartoum yet refuse to exercise the real leadership necessary to stop the killing in Sudan. President Obama’s most recent trip to Cairo and Buchenwald is the latest example of this pattern of behavior. Strong words are a start, but they will not be sufficient to bring lasting peace to the people of Sudan.

When will this chain of fasters end? When we see the global powers work seriously together to end the devastation in Sudan, when we see humanitarian aid not simply restored but not needed because Darfuris are back in their villages, planting their crops and grazing their animals. When the government of Sudan changes their behavior and works to improve the lives of all their citizens — north, south, east, west — and does not simply act in ways that servers only to centralize and preserve its own power.

We will stop when the Obama Administration takes leadership and helps fully coalesce the international commitment to peace in Sudan. I encourage you to visit the “Is this Hope?” campaign to learn more — http://www.isthishope.com/

I really liked what Omer Ismael, of Enough!, said “today we support the people of Darfur, tomorrow we support the people of Congo, the people of Uganda, then support the many other peoples of the world who are going through different difficult experiences…”

How do we continue to build a global movement, an “ecosystem of change” as Peter Gabriel says, where those who have a voice can ensure that we collectively protect and nurture those whose voices are being silenced?

Feeling much gratitude for all the fasters who have come before me and who will fast after me.

Peace, p

Nikki Dryden’s Day 5 Video

June 05, 2009 By: Admin Category: Nikki Dryden

Nikki Dryden Darfur Fast for Life from fastdarfur on Vimeo.

Nikki Dryden’s Day 4 Blog

June 05, 2009 By: Admin Category: Nikki Dryden

June 3, 2009

Day 4

I am on Day 4 of 5 of my Refugee Rations-only diet. While I feel lucky to be eating even the smallest amounts of food, the diet is bland and I find myself craving salt, flavoring, and anything that seems alive: fruit, vegetables, specifically something green or orange. In fact I crave anything but the beige rice, oatmeal, and lentils that I have been eating for the last four days.

When I am not thinking about food, I am thinking about how my body feels. As an athlete I am very in tune with my body. Although I am no longer in elite shape, I still take cues from my body to tell me when I am overstressed, overworked, or not well. I take happiness in feeling energetic and strong. However today I feel none of these things. My mind wanders easily and I keep forgetting what I am doing. I can’t concentrate, I don’t want to work, and I am functioning at half speed. Am I just tired from work? Or is it really a lack of food that makes me fall into bed as if I have just finished a day of double work-outs, with 4 hours of swim practice.

Then I think of the internally displaced people in Darfur and the refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. Last year when I worked for the Australian Government as a refugee visa officer I interviewed over 300 refugees from across Africa in 3 months. I heard story after story of torture and persecution. But more often than not, I heard stories of life in the refugee camps. Some were still in harms way, suffering violence and discrimination and even persecution within the camps. Still others would refuse to stay there, saying it was better to live in the dangerous neighborhoods of Nairobi where more than one of the women I interviewed was raped, than to live in a refugee camp.

Whether it is fear of violence, insufficient nutrition, poor sanitation or lack of opportunity, I have heard many stories of what life is like in a refugee camp. Today I go to sleep feeling exhausted and hungry, but I am safe. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my body, a family whose location I know, and the physical ability and secure environment to do whatever I need to do to survive. I wish only that every refugee from Darfur could feel this way tonight too.

End of fast

June 04, 2009 By: Admin Category: Blake Mycoskie

Its only hours until the end of the fast and I can’t stop thinking about food. The thing about a fast is you have to be really careful how you come out of it, and that means no burger and fries as your first meal (!) but a half glass of OJ and sliced bananas. Earlier this afternoon I went to the grocery store and ended up spending an hour looking closely at food, reading labels, asking questions about organic versus non-organic, really comparison shopping.

And then it hit me on my drive home from the store…I am sooooo unbelievably lucky that I have these food choices to consider. Not only do I have a choice about whether or not my OJ is organic when I first break my fast, but I get to choose to break it. The refugees of Darfur do not have a choice AT ALL. They have no say in when their next meal will be, much less what it will consist of. They have no choice but to live in fear of starvation and violence. I pray tonight, as I bless the food that will soon nourish my body, that someone somewhere reads this and the many other blogs, videos, and testimonials from the people of Darfur; I pray that someone will do something about it. And do something now before more needless lives are lost to this genocide.

ending fast

June 04, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pam Omidyar

June 4, 2009

Hello friends,

Shannon and I broke fast on day 38, while in Morocco with The Elders. Her last blog was very moving and the feeling is mutual. But I promise to post a longer blog soon. Please know how much gratitude I feel for everyone who has fasted and has supported Darfur Fast for Life. I have no plans to end my commitment to peace in all of Sudan and will fast again in a heartbeat if it would bring more action and attention.

Sending you much aloha and ubuntu,

Pam

Why We Fasted — Enough Team

June 04, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Over the weekend, members of the Enough team joined the Darfur Fast for Life to show solidarity with the people of Darfur and protest the ongoing violence and suffering orchestrated by the Sudanese government. After six years of conflict in Darfur, Sudan now has the largest displaced population in the world by far — nearly five million inside the country and an estimated 250,000 in neighboring Chad.

Since the launch of the Darfur Fast for Life on March 27 by actress and activist Mia Farrow, numerous prominent activists and leaders have joined the thousands of concerned citizens who are part of this fasting chain, including musician Peter Gabriel, Representatives Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), British mogul Richard Branson, and filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney.

Here, members of the Enough team speak out about why they personally felt compelled to join the Darfur Fast for Life…

“Fasting for a day was a great personal reminder of what we, as activists, are fighting for. While this simple sacrifice on my part is trivial in comparison to the situation millions face every day in Darfur, I wanted to take this action to be a part of a campaign, along with thousands of others, who continue to speak out and act despite the relative inaction of the international community.  We have a responsibility to keep up our fight in any and every way possible until the people of Sudan see peace.”  John B.

“I wanted to be part of this fast because I feel like the public is getting complacent about the suffering in Darfur. I got involved in Darfur advocacy during my junior year of college, five years ago, and I find it appalling that the acute suffering continues. Now, with the expulsion of the major aid agencies in the region, the situation even threatens to worsen as the rainy season arrives this year. At this critical moment, it is important for us to do our job as activists: to keep Darfur in the news and weighing on the public’s conscience.” Laura

“The Darfur Fast for Life has helped bring renewed attention to the suffering of people in Darfur. I wanted to take part because, as President Obama said, the genocide in Darfur is a ‘stain on our souls.’ After six years of death, hunger, illness, and devastation, our leaders need to act, but they won’t do it without our constant pressure. I wanted to be part of this collective voice calling for a sustainable and comprehensive peace in Sudan.” Summer

For information about how to join the Darfur Fast for Life, click here.

Day 2

June 03, 2009 By: Admin Category: Blake Mycoskie

It is almost 11 pm and I cannot sleep. This is the end of my second day of the fast. I have experienced many emotions and states of mind today that I did not expect.

Backing up, the first day was uncomfortable. I was hungry but my mind seemed to be in a consistent state, unlike the ups and downs I have experienced today. Today I started out full of energy, then totally tanked and was hit with headaches. And now this evening I have a burning energy I cannot explain. It feels like I just had a double espresso, but my body has not had any caffeine in over 48 hours. I cannot sleep, and I am drawn to the fastdarfur.org website to read the blogs of those who have experienced “day 2” before me. Instead I land on the profiles and videos of the child refugees. I listen as one boy speaks about eating meat and drinking milk back home in Darfur and I cannot begin to imagine how deep and simple his desire for food and a normal life are at this very minute.

Being displaced is inconceivable to me but I can tell, for lack of a better term, it just sucks. I know that is not the most poetic way to say it, but this is surely the way it seems and it is so infuriating to think that so many people are displaced at this very moment (robbed of their lifestyle, their health and so much more) and we as a nation have every power to change that, but we are not. We are sitting on the sidelines.

I am not sure if my participation in this fast will make a difference to anyone that can do anything about it, but I know that 3 days is worth trying, and I would go 30 more if I knew it would change things, even for just one of the children’s profiles I have just read.

Stop Genocide Now Writes Open Letter to Obama to Help End Bloodshed in Chad

June 02, 2009 By: Admin Category: Oregon Community

In today’s Salem-News: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/june022009/obama_lsetter.php

“Last weekend you upheld your promise to Michele to take her to dinner and Broadway performance in New York. What about your promise to the Darfuri people?” -Alysha Atma, Stop Genocide Now

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – The group Stop Genocide Now reports that one of the refugee camps in Chad has been bombed.

“Not only is Al-bashir embolden enough to starve his own people by expelling the aid organizations he is now bombing them, AGAIN,” they report.

The group’s Alysha Atma says people have the opportunity to use their voices for those that so desperately need it, and she is begging for the world’s assistance in reducing the rampant violence there.

The group has drafted an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama seeking intervention and assistance:

Dear President Obama

During your campaign you said that you would listen, that all voices would be heard. Did that mean only those voices closest to you at that moment? I am yelling and many of my friends and family are yelling, LOUDLY, for Darfur. We asking that you now use your voice, to reach back into those fundamentals that ran your campaign on, to STAND UP and YELL for Darfur.

I listened to you and believed in you, that you would be the change. You said that if we did not act for Darfur it would be a stain on humanity. Darfur is bleeding and those still fighting for peace believed in you and trusted you to YELL LOUDLY for them.

I know that I am not the only one asking this of you, 600 people from 33 countries are fasting for Darfur. Fasting in solidarity for Darfur, standing together to act because we believe those in positions of authority who know what is right and just, could and should do more to alleviate their suffering and bring peace, protection, and justice to the people of Sudan.We fast for Darfur’s courageous people —because we yearn for a world where human rights are respected and a life of dignity is the legacy for every man, woman and child.

Al-Bashir believes he is stronger rather than weaker or isolated–after blatantly starving his own people, he now feels emboldened to even bomb refugee camp areas. I cannot imagine what our friends at camp Oure Cassoni might be going through, as Sudanese aircrafts repeatedly bomb that border area.

Last weekend you upheld your promise to Michele to take her to dinner and Broadway performance in New York. What about your promise to the Darfuri people? What about your promise to the American people about what is right and just in the International community? What about your promise to me to use your voice for those that need it, to stand for change? How many must starve and die in refugee camps? How many must run and hide from the bombs being droped on the only 20% of villages left in Darfur? When will NEVER AGAIN mean NEVER AGAIN?

I am using my voice, I need yours….

Sincerely

Alysha Atma

Stop Genocide Now

stopgenocidenow.org

fastdarfur.org

Email: alysha@iactivism.org

Email: oregon@fastdarfur.org

Skype: Alysha.Atma

Phone: 503-901-8103

Stop Genocide Now (SGN) is a grassroots community dedicated to working to protect populations in grave danger of violence, death and displacement resulting from genocide. Through active education, advocacy and policy change SGN resolves to change the way the world responds to genocide. SGN is currently focused on creating awareness and action to stop the genocide in Darfur and deal appropriately with its aftermath. All of our projects focus on and utilize the strength and power in grassroots connectivity.