Mia Farrow Sets 21-day Limit On Darfur Hunger Protest
First Published: April 22, 2009 9:00 PM EDT Credit: AP
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Mia Farrow is so determined to embark on a potentially dangerous hunger strike, not even her doctor can talk her out of it.
The 64-year-old actress and humanitarian plans to begin fasting on Monday, and she has set a limit of 21 days — or until her health worsens. Farrow, who will drink water only, says she approached her doctor for advice, asserting, “Please don’t even try to talk me out of this.”
Farrow’s hunger strike is a show of solidarity with the people of Darfur. She was inspired to do it after the Sudanese government expelled international aid agencies from the country last month.
Farrow says her doctor will be on call. In preparation, she’s taking vitamins and eating fruits and vegetables, and she’s gained 9 pounds.
“I’m just an actress,” Farrow said Wednesday by phone from herhome in rural Connecticut. “I’m not presuming anybody will care whether I starve to death or whether I go on a long hunger strike or what. But it’s a personal matter. I can’t be among those that watch — and I honestly couldn’t think of anything else to do.”
Farrow said her doctor wants to conduct a blood test two weeks after she begins the protest.
“I don’t know what will happen — I have no idea,” she said. “I looked it up online just to see kind of what to expect, and the reason I’m gonna try to go for three weeks is because you do permanent, irreversible damage, possibly to your organs. … But it is a punishment to the body for sure.”
Farrow is willing to take the risk. She’s been to the Darfur region 11 times and feels compelled to return repeatedly on the peoples’ behalf to “try to tell a world that seems not to care at all what’s happening to them.”
Last year, Farrow became a vocal opponent of the Beijing Olympics, calling on China to use its close ties to the Sudanese Arab-dominated government to end the conflict in Darfur. As an alternative to the Olympics, Farrow aired a series of webcasts showing the poor living conditions of ethnic African refugees displaced by the fighting.
The war in Darfur began in early 2003 when rebel groups rose up against the government complaining of discrimination and neglect. U.N. officials say up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes.
“My goal is to one day build a museum for Darfur’s people — in Darfur,” Farrow said. “Where the young people who’ve grown up in the midst of violence and in deplorable conditions in camps will be able to go to that museum and reclaim what’s theirs.”
Farrow, who has collected 40 hours of video footage of traditional ceremonies and other rites that are rarely performed in dark times, expects to return to camps on the Sudan-Chad border sometime this year.
But first, she has to get through her fast.
“I’m going to spend time with each of my children between now and Monday and try to, you know, really alleviate whatever worries they might have or concerns. … I’m still a parent and I don’t want to die.”
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