Darfur Fast in D.C.–Day 4

posted by Mike on August 5th, 2005

Today was the last day of our four-day fast and vigil at the Sudanese Embassy.

Everyone was in good spirits. It was hot and humid. I got a little dehydrated since I didn’t really feel like drinking water.

Ice Tom Lewis tried to take a break in the lounge at the Hilton, and was approached by security. So Scott and Ken went down there. They buttered up the concierge, explained about our vigil, and relaxed in the lounge while a Hilton employee went upstairs to fill their shopping bag with ice.

A group was demonstrating down the street for human rights in Burma.

At 1pm, Jim Fussell brought back the giant banner and tied it to two trees in front of private houses next to the Embassy.

The residents of one house got home today, and about an hour later somebody drove too close to their parked car and there was a shattering of glass. The guy just drove on. We took down the license number and alerted the owners, but it turns out it was the other fellow’s side mirror that shattered. The parked car’s side mirror was unharmed.

A man came out from the Embassy and gave us a booklet published by the Embassy on the Darfur conflict. It is poorly produced–rife with typos, badly-pixelated photos, and doesn’t use curly quotes. Even the photo of the President of Sudan looks like it was downloaded from the web.

The content isn’t much better. One article attempting to debunk Darfur casualty figures says, “These wildly swinging numbers claimed by the various interests [sic] groups united only in their deep animosity toward Sudan can have only one explanation–pure politics.” The article does not have a single example of a group changing its numbers. No “swinging numbers” are documented. The article does include the differing numbers put forth by different groups over a 13-month period, and somehow expects us to confuse this disagreement with a lack of credibility. What kind of crappy propaganda is this? Of course, the article does not attempt to refute the methodology or statistics of, say, Eric Reeves, or anyone else who is offering Darfur casualty numbers.

A motorist told us she got a flier at yesterday’s demo, and when she got home donated $100 to Catholic Relief Services for Darfur aid.

A woman who lives next door to the Embassy came out and offered us water. (Did I mention it was a hot, humid week in our nation’s capital?)

A motorist said she’d be making copies of our flier to distribute at work.

Another neighbor of the Embassy said he was “perturbed” at the sign hanging in front of his house, since the house was for sale and he wanted people to notice it. Ken offered to take down the sign. Since it was the last day of our vigil, the man said it was OK to leave the sign up.

Jim Fussell and Gabe Huck
Jim Fussell and Gabe Huck.

Art Laffin drove up and whisked us away. We broke our fast in the van with bread and tortilla chips, then had a fine dinner at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House. The 4-day vigil was co-sponsored by Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in DC, Hartford Catholic Worker in CT, and Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker in Worcester, MA. Thanks to everyone who drove by and said, “Thanks for what you’re doing!” It really meant a lot to me.

A well-dressed Sudanese man chats with Scott Schaeffer-Duffy

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