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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Jon Foreman


Jon Foreman is the front-man for multi-platinum selling rock band Switchfoot. Over the course of the last ten years Switchfoot has developed a reputation as an amazing live experience with songs that transcend the boundaries of simple rock and roll. Foreman describes his songs as, “music for thinking people” a heading that seems to include activism of all kinds as well. Over the years Jon Foreman and Switchfoot have used their voice to support many worthy causes: International Justice Mission, Habitat for Humanity, The Surfrider Foundation, Invisible Children, TWLOHA and numerous local charities. The music and the activism collide every summer at the Switchfoot Bro-Am: a surf contest/ concert that the band throws support struggling teens in the area. In addition to the numerous solo projects and side projects that Jon has put out over the last few months, a new Switchfoot CD titled “Hello Hurricane” is slated for late summer.

darfur fast blog #5 day three, impossible to ignore

May 14, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

so it’s 11:56 on wednesday night… day three of the fast. I’m planning on breaking my fast at midnight.

I’ve just received word that the sudanese forces carried out a bombing raid on North Darfur today. And then this: In an IDP camp in west Darfur they ran out of water completely. I feel tremendously sad. Frustrated by the injustices and and feeling ridiculously small in the face of it all.

Tonight I pass the baton to a hero of mine, peter gabriel who be fasting for the next three days. It’s a sobering thought, the luxury of being able to go back to food and while millions cannot.

I might be an idealist. I might not have a political mind. But I do know that something is off.

And I take a look at a nation of excess, (including my own) and I wonder why we as a nation aren’t involved in what many are calling the paramount international human-rights crisis — the Darfur genocide. Speaking of Darfur during his campaign, Obama said: “As president of the United States, I don’t intend to abandon people.” Yet he is. About genocide, he said, “We can’t say ‘never again’ and allow it to happen again.” But it is happening again.

With the U.S. budget deficit on track to rise to a record setting 1.84 trillion dollars in the current fiscal year, we remain uncommitted to Darfur. As a nation we are literally living on borrowed money, borrowing from the future to pay for the present. And yet, the staggering loss of human life in Darfur is not on our national priority list. With our budget we are declaring what is most important to our nation. In our excess we are abandoning Darfur.

Mother Theresa said this: “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” I am so convicted by her words.

I want to be a part of the solution. I want to laugh with those who laugh, weep with those who weep, and suffer with those who suffer. I have lost much of my childlike faith in the government, but I have a hope for justice still. Maybe God alone can bring about final justice, but in this life I feel we are called to pursue it with our flesh and blood. If Christ was best known for his death, “laying down his life for his friends” then shouldn’t his followers do likewise? serving and loving those in need? These are not things I can do on my own. I need your help. we all need a community to thrive in, to challenge us… to threaten us with abundant living.

This is our world. It’s what you and me and the millions of other souls on our planet make it. This is your darfur, my darfur… Our chance to act or pretend that we don’t care. Whatever your personal religious convictions may be, the tragedy in Darfur is impossible to ignore.

Video Interview w/ Jon Foreman on Conversant Life

May 13, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

http://www.conversantlife.com/darfur

Wednesday, May 13th @ 10:30 AM -11:00 AM PST (1:30 PM – 2:00 PM). LIVE Video interview with Jon Foreman of Switchfoot about his Fast for Darfur. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

Archive of the Live Video interview

Jon Foreman Fast for Darfur Interview from CJ Casciotta on Vimeo.

darfur fast blog #4, day three: four morning thoughts

May 13, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

I woke up early. It’s day number three of the fast and I am definitely feeling it… I crawl out of bed and have four immediate thoughts:

My first thought: I have access to clean water and a roof to sleep under. I have a bed. I have my guitar. In this fast I was hoping to join in solidarity with those who are fasting without an option; and yet the hunger I have right now is nothing compared to the despair of Darfur. Robbed of dignity, robbed of their homes, these refugees are on the run from brutal violence and rape, seeking out any form of hope. The smallest bit of hunger that I feel this morning cannot even be compared to the hunger that Darfur woke up with today: a hunger for dignity, a hunger for freedom, a hunger for so much more than simply food.

My second though was this: I need so much grace. I need so much patience. I need so many second chances. Even in this fast, I’m sure my motives are impure most the time. I might be drinking only water but it’s my mind and my heart that are corrupted and impure. I would like to think that I have it all together but I don’t- from the little things: I screw up the time and end up running late way too often- to the big things: I get overwhelmed at suffering and sorrow in the world and sometimes would rather turn the other way. And in my hopes to get things right I can be extremely judgmental of everyone everything around me. Dang it. I’m sorry all. God is so patient with me. My friends and family are so patient with me. I need to learn how to pass this grace along.

My third thought was along these lines: we are meant to live and love in community- to grow old together having shared laughter and pain and joy- to love each other through the painful spots. But we’re so bent and hurt that we drive each other away. We’ve been so broken and shattered (Speaking out of experience here!), that we are driven to break and shatter the ones around us. Call it our fallen nature, or look to Freud and call it our death urge… might as well call it the front page of the newspaper. The fact is: we are driven to pieces, destroying ourselves and those around us in the search for meaning. No life is meant to be lived alone. We know this and yet on a planet with millions of people we drive lonely cars and work lonely jobs. We start lonely wars and buy lonely houses.

My fourth thought: Everything on this capital planet is worth what we will pay for it. The “worth” of gold rises and falls according to public opinion. The housing market, meats and vegetables, vintage guitars, oil… The trouble is that people fall into this category as well. The value of human life and dignity… What’s it worth? Is it worth my time? Is it worth risking national security? Is it worth more than oil? Is it worth getting out of my comfort zone to help someone out? What we ascribe worth to is what we “worth-ship” – and what we worship is most evident with our time and money. Stock up treasures in heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy.

What’s the meaning of life? What’s worth living for? We live out those answers everyday in our choices. It’s a tremendous amount of power, (accompanied with fear and trembling). The staggering realization is this: you’ve been loaned the power to determine what’s “worth it” in your lifetime. Every hour of life affords a tremendous amount of spending power; choose wisely with your time, it’s one of your most valuable resources.

We Fast in Solidarity

May 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

Jon Foreman – Switchfoot – Darfur Fast for Life

blog 3: day two, letters to the editor

May 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

I got this letter today:

This is kinda weird. I’m all for publicity — especially when artists are speaking up for the downtrodden in Africa — but when somebody’s fasting, it just doesn’t seem right to publicize — at least not during the fast. From Matthew 6:16

“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you”

Please take this in the right spirit. You know I’m a big Switchfoot and Foreman fan, and not just because of their music. I’m passionate about a lot of the same things Jon is passionate about, and I have the utmost respect for him. But this seems like, well, not your typical publicity fodder.

Feel free to tell me to take hike! ;-)

———————————————————
here’s my response:

Hola friend,

thanks for your thoughtful email. I think understand your feelings about the publicity element of this fast. I have thought this through and would like to offer a few thoughts of my own.

First off, if the term “fast” throws you off, try a different term- maybe hunger protest. Or maybe this one: hunger strike.

The all-informative Wikipedia says this:

A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. 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.

Or maybe try this term instead: 30 hour famine.

The 24-hour famine, the 30-hour famine, and the 40-hour famine are all very public attempts (most often within the church), to raise awareness and join in with those who are starving. Literally starving. The Global Food Crisis is in year two… And none of my friends really knows about it; to do nothing at all feels wrong. These are well accepted forms of “fasting” within the church.

If none of those terms work, I understand. Don’t talk at all about my hunger strike if you don’t feel comfortable with it. But instead I ask that you would write a whole article about Darfur. Save every dot of ink and every scrap of page for the ones I’m trying to draw attention to. Fast with me (in public or private). Join in with those who need your help. This would be my ultimate goal…

I thought about matthew 6 before I began this fast and feel comfortable with my decision to make this fast public. Fasting is one of the only ways I could think of to enter into the suffering of darfur. Like I’ve said earlier- I honestly don’t have a better idea! If you or anyone else has any better ideas as to how to end the cycle of violence and despair I’m all ears. Or let me know how to support what your doing over there and I will try my best to lend my songs to the cause.

To bring it back to the specifics of this fast, Darfur remains the United Nations’ largest relief operation. More than 2.7 million civilians have been driven from their homes, and about 4.7 million rely on humanitarian aid to this day.

and that is why I cannot eat…

jon

There’s something broken with the system

May 11, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

As a musician, I have a natural aversion to politicians. In fact, I believe in democracy simply because I distrust all politicians equally.

And yet, I have a tremendous amount of faith and belief in humanity. When it comes to folks outside of the power schemes I might even trust people too much. I am ruthlessly idealistic, hopelessly optimistic. I believe the best in people. That’s why I have to do something, because I feel that if people knew the truth, they would feel the same as I do. They would feel that something has to be done. They would care and things would change.

President Barack Obama last week requested a $1.5 billion emergency appropriation to deal with a flu outbreak that has killed 3 people in the US. I believe this action was in response to a nation experiencing “what could potentially be the biggest national emergency since Y2K” (genius comparison courtesy of glenn phillips.)

An estimated 300,000 folks have already died in Darfur and we do nothing… $0.00. And three people die of the flu and we spend $1.5 billion to figure things out. $1,500,000,000.00

I understand the need for precautionary measures but this feels like reactionary spending when I am reminded of the 2,500,000 people whose lives hang in the balance in displacement camps? What can be done for them? don’t tell me nothing.

Obama: “We can’t ignore the genocide in Darfur… We have to do everything in our power to make it stop. We have to act. Now.”

Nothing? Years and years go by… and still… nothing…

Our national inaction sends the simple message that a whole crowd of Sudanese souls are not worth as much as an American with the flu. “Surely this is not true!” we protest. And yet our actions speak louder than our words.

There’s something broken with the system.

We the people of the united states of america… We are the system. We are the media. We are the government. We are the twittering public. We the people of the united states of america… we own this place. We decide who is president. We pick the next american idol. Obama our leader, is in many ways a follower of his people. In a state where the vote of the populous determines the next face of the government, a politician must listen to his/her constituents to remain in power. I believe nothing was done for Darfur because Obama doesn’t think the public cares about Darfur.

Perhaps we can blame the media- perhaps the public doesn’t care because they are uninformed, or at least under-informed? Yes, but in many ways “the news” is simply a vendor trying to sell a product, we tell them (with our viewing, purchasing power) what product sells. Britney, Brangelina, or Bosnia. we choose the news.

And now for the staggering fact: you and I are the problem and the solution.

May 10th – Under the same sun

May 10, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

Sunday, May 10th
Mothers day

I arrived home in San Diego early this morning, back from a run of shows up the coast with Switchfoot. The sun is setting over the pacific and my hair is still wet from an evening surf. In the distance I can hear the whistle of the Amtrak from LA heading south. I’m grateful to be home, grateful to have a place to live, grateful to have been given another breath alive on this planet.

But today my thoughts are divided, split between two worlds. As the sun sets over California it begins to rise over Darfur. The same sun. The same planet. 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 it’s current stance of inaction?

When presidential hopeful Obama was running for office he stated that “We can’t ignore the genocide in Darfur. The international community can’t turn a blind eye when children are being slaughtered and women are being raped. We have to do everything in our power to make it stop. We have to act. Now.”

Nothing has happened.

And yet the sun is still rising over Darfur. And the sun still rises over me. And the sun still rises over capital hill… the same sun.

Today we celebrate mother’s day with our moms and grandmothers. My thoughts drift overseas to the mother who is just now waking up, wondering whether she’ll be able to give her children anything to eat.

Tomorrow I begin a three day fast for Darfur. Why fast? Because quite frankly, I can’t think of a better idea. I reckon the best way to enter into the suffering of a group of people halfway around the world is to start with the basics. These folks are fasting without alternative, for three days I will fast with them.