I am finishing up my fast today. Tomorrow, I’ll slowly begin to add food back into my diet. For me, the hardest part of this action is over. For those for whom we fast, it’s not even close. And that is heartbreaking as I watch the world continue to ignore this genocide. Not unlike the world ignored the genocide of Rwanda in 1994 – because our media was focused on OJ Simpson.
On June 17, 1994, over 1,000 reporters waited for Simpson at the police station as our nation watched the circus of Simpson driving down the LA Freeway during a 35 mph low-speed pursuit. Over twenty helicopters followed the chase. It was covered live by ABC News anchors Peter Jennings and Barbara Walters for ABC’s five news magazines, which achieved some their highest-ever ratings that week. And genocide in Rwanda continued unchecked.
One thousand reporters??! Where are 1,000 reporters clamoring for more information about Darfur? About the atrocities committed against the Darfurian people?! Where is the outrage? It doesn’t exist. And the world waits for the crisis to become so big that it can’t be ignored. And hundreds of thousands or a million more will die. And the world leaders will turn to Darfur as they finally turned to Rwanda, and Cambodia, and Bosnia, and Armenia and the Nazi Holocaust and… And say, “We must stop this senseless killing”. And they will be right. But they (and we) will be late again. And rage will fill the souls of those who were left to die unattended as we cared about everything but them.
While my fast ends tonight, and I begin again tomorrow to eat, I will not forget what I learned during these 21 days. I learned that we are not the first, nor the last to peacefully protest an untenable situation. That this action is only a step of many that must be taken. That community comes together and supports one another when given the chance and that this is not the solution, but inevitably only an action in itself. That action must continue or it is just an exercise.
Tonight I gathered with new friends of StopGenocideNow to discuss the issues of genocide. Tremendous speakers who shared their wisdom and came to speak on one of the most beautiful days drippy Portland has seen so far this year. And we shared our faith in being able to make a difference and became a unique community for just today that will grow from this point.
Resources to consider for Darfur:
– Save Darfur (non profit organization to help Darfur)
– Jewish World Watch (a call to conscience for the Jewish Community for Darfur)
– Darfur Scores (Calling on Congress to stop genocide) Divest for Darfur (Sudan Divestment Task Force)
– Stop Genocide Now (non profit organization to help Darfur – Organized the Fast Darfur movement for 21 days)
– Call 1-800-GENOCIDE (1-800-436-6243) (Updated recordings about what to tell your representatives. Then it automatically connects you to your representative or the White house – DOES NOT TRACK YOUR NUMBER – SO YOU WON’T BE ADDED TO SOME PHONE LIST – it tallies the NUMBER of calls – and volume matters)
Finally, ending with a quote given to me tonight –
“Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it” – Mahatma Gandhi.
How profound. But all is not what it seems. You may never know your affect on others. But you will always know whether or not it was important enough to do – and the sacrifice will make a difference in the world and make you stronger for the action you took.