Sating Appetites and Tag-Teaming Injustice

Sating Appetites and Tag-Teaming Injustice

Click the link to listen to a relevant song by Cat Power while you read. “Lord, Help The Poor & Needy” 

This post is a follow-up to my post “Sustenance on Cinco de Mayo: Starving for Justice, or Just for Tequila Shots?” 

On Friday, May 8, Mia Farrow ended her hunger strike early at the order of her doctor; she was 12 days into her intended 21-day strike.  She had been blogging her fasting experience and urging viewers to call the White House at (202)456 1111 or email him by going to and request that President Obama get aid reinstated in Darfur, given his promise to end the suffering there during the campaign period.    Watching Farrow on You Tube did not make me personally want to join her in this form of activism–that is a hunger strike, specifically.  I taught David Eggers’ novel What is the What this semester, and several of my students attended a campus vigil to promote awareness of the atrocities in Darfur.  How far this constitutes activism I am not certain; by the same token, however, when watching Farrow’s vlogs, my concern for Darfur at that moment was second to the strangeness of watching a well-to-do aging actress in her cozy Connecticut home hold up a handwritten poster board with contact numbers on it while a child, presumably a grandchild, poked her head before the camera, stealing Farrow’s spotlight.  I guess one of my concerns is who or what is reaping the benefits of this strike? Farrow or Darfur?  Nothing can ever truly simulate the experiences of those, half-clad, barefoot, and homeless, suffering in Sudan.

Below is Farrow’s farewell blog. 

Though her belly may now be full again, Farrow’s hunger for activism and justice in Darfur persists. She has passed the empty dish on to British millionaire, Richard Branson, who fasted Saturday, Sunday, and today, in order to continue the spirit of her cause.  And now, according to Farrow’s website, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, will take over the fast for Branson.  Wouldn’t it be nice if those not starving by choice in Darfur and elsewhere in the world had someone to pass the fast onto when their bodies grew too weary and weakened and death was imminent?

On a related topic, today the hunger striking Iranian government released Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi from prison in Tehran and reduced her 8-year sentence to a 2-year suspended sentence that permits Saberi to leave Iran now.  It remains unclear what exactly prompted her freeing.  Did her hunger strike and the fasters behind the Free Roxana campaign actually have an effect? Did her dual citizenship play into her international support, persuading the Iranian government to be more lenient with her high-profile case than they have been with the 30 other journalists they imprisoned in 2008?  Just some more freedom for thought.


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