Darfur Fast for Life

We fast in solidarity with the hungry and starving in Darfur and for lasting peace in Sudan

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.

4 Comments to “”

  1. maria bello says:

    Abigail – I started the fast yesterday and have been reading all of the blogs. Your honesty and beauty really moved me. Thank you for not being “perfect”. You made me feel not so lonely anymore and are showing me how to be humble in my humanity. Much Love. Maria Bello

  2. maria bello says:

    Good luck

  3. I watched this show and I have to say I wasn’t happy with it at all. Here again you have white women exploiting a story and “pretending” to have empathy for Leymah and her fellow Liberian sisters story but, as a film maker myself, I’ve learned to hone my eyes. Number one both Disney and Sherr were very uncomfortable when Leymah began talking and couldn’t wait to switch the focus to Disney’s documentary (I believe she forgot it was in fact a documentary when she referred to Leymah and others as “characters” when showing HER doc to other women higher on the racial color caste system created by europeans) I mean really!! A white supremacist always gives themselves away. What compensation is Leymah getting for her story being exploited and for Disney and other white supremacist women to present themselves as human beings let alone caring/empathetic ones. We all know that white supremacist capitalist patriarchal women in the US DO NOT care about women of color let alone black women UNLESS, they can benefit more than the victims of their psychological terrorism.

  4. Liz Palmer says:

    Hi Abigail,

    You have not failed.

    You have been an inspiration and a source of awareness and compassion for me. You have shown others how hard it is to survive on so little. I fast 3 days a week and find that very hard. Not for the willpower to resist food, but for the body’s basic energy needs, just to get through the day without being lightheaded and to function in our fast-paced world.

    Talks are proceeding in Egypt, and the world’s press have placed renewed interest in the area since the kidnapping of the two aid workers from Goal. The recent G8 summit has again highlighted the urgency and immediacy of poverty and hunger of IDP’s and people in conflict zones. There is movement on this issue, and the actions of people like yourself have helped to drive that.

    Thanks again,

    Liz Palmer
    Brighton, UK