Today was spent not at the Darfur Vigil a the Embassy but at US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; a demonstration at the Capitol and march to the Washington Monument.
102 days into this Darfur Vigil / Campaign a Q & A can be helpful:
Q. How is your health, are you still fasting; do you expect to survive?
A. My health is excellent. My weight continues to decline as I march 9-12 hours per day and take only about 800 calories per day, while normal intake for this level of activity might be closer to 3,000. I expect to survive. Although I experience no short or long term damage thus far, as my weight decreases to skeleton level some damage is likely.
Q. What is your routine, plan and why?
A. Basically I march with Darfur posters 9-12 hours per day depending on levels of pain and fatigue; some days are easy, some days are not. I take 2 breaks of roughly an hour each. I sleep sitting up (lying down would be arrestable) for the remainder. This is what I do 6/24. Saturday nights I accept hospitality at the Washington Peace House to shower, blog and bathe. I march for the same reason I do everything - as my best shot to stop the genocide by raising others to levels of "paying the price" to stop the genocide. Collateral benefits of the marching include: as opposed to traditional "Hunger Strikes" the marching is an added expression of commitment; and it drives my weight down faster so that soon I will be a visual reminder of the Holocaust Darfur is experiencing.
Q. How do you feel?
A. "A person is not equipped to Live until s/he knows what s/he would die for," said Dr. King. The corollary is that when you have something that is worth dying for you can fully Live. I feel fully aLive, full of Peace / Joy / Life / Love, and much pain. Some days are a breeze. Some days my legs are racked with pain even hours after I stop marching. But I am in such solidarity, from my soul, serving my Darfur family, that there are no more than a few seconds in any day that are not wonderful. I would not trade my quality of life these days for any time in my privileged 55 years. And I recommend that this level alone is where Life / the Divine / Love / Peace are to be found for the individual participant, and for their dear ones over the longer term. See Jesus, Good, God-Father, Alfred Adler, n Start Loving for more on this.
Q. What are you hoping to accomplish?
A. I am trying to stick / attach / insert the tortured, starving Darfuries on my large posters to the Hearts of the thousands of Federal, International, and normal drivers that pass me to and from work every day; EVERY DAY! Darfur has hit the "Head" of 70% of the U.S. populace, and the "Heart" of less than 10. Until it hits our Hearts, we will not "pay the price" of ending Genocide. Love and suffering is what you do for "family" in need. Right? Well it so happens that according to Dr. King (and your own reflection I'll wager), "Unearned suffering is redemptive."
Q. Are you being successful?
A. I am asked this question often. It is the wrong question in the sense that at such times that each of us is "humane," in our "right mind" it is not a question we would ask in the face of such attrocities. It is not the question of "brotherhood." The question of a Brother or Sister is, "What is my best shot in the face of such dire need?" The Sudan Embassy 24/6 Vigil / Fast / March is my best shot. I AM impacting thousands of influential people day, after day... 102 days so far. I am committed. I am "family." I am "paying the price." These things are all potentially infectious. [Apathy, neglect, indifference and lip service are also infectious.] There is no other hope besides what Gandhi prescribed, "Be the change you wish to see." The change I wish to see is millions "paying the price" to Rescue and Restore Darfur.
Q. Do you expect to continue and if so for how long?
A. I cannot imagine ending the Vigil until the Rescue of Darfur is unmistakably underway and their Restoration is absolutely assured. This could be by summer's end. It could be never.
Q. Are you still alone in this Sudan Embassy campaign and what are your needs?
A. I would have expired by now were it not for Ellen Thomas who simply saw the need and jumped in bringing whatever liquids and calories are needed every day. I have no needs. Our Darfur family needs hundreds or thousands of us "paying the price" for their rescue and restoration. Currently there are maybe 10 nation wide paying the price that needs to be paid.
Q. Is there progress for Darfur?
A. There may be progress for Darfur. France's energetic new regime. China's worry of having the PR value of the Olympics diminished. Some resolve on the part of the G8. Or it may be the 10,000th installment of "lip service," just like we-the-people of the world are giving our governmental employees (President, Congress...) lip service; and just like al-Bashier gives us all back - lip service.
Q. In your view what will it take to Rescue and Restore Darfur?
A. The only thing that has ever caused one group of people to be Rescued and Restored is other people "paying the price." The world has never stopped a genocide. We have never payed the price. If we-the-people do not pay the price, our elected officials, no dummies, will see that they have neither reward nor problems ahead, and Lip Service is all we'll get from them; and 2.5 million Darfuries will continue to die excruciating deaths. Yes China needs to be shamed leveraging the Olympics, multilateral sanctions are required on all parties in Sudan to force a lasting peace agreement, Russia needs bringing in line... BUT ALL THESE REQUIRE THAT THE PRICE BE PAID BY WE-THE-PEOPLE.