Mia Farrow Launches Hunger Strike Over Darfur

Farrow writes: "I hope human rights advocates and citizens of conscience around the world will join me in some form of fasting, even if for one day." Since most citizens command no publicity ("Hello, local newspaper? I'm fasting for one day. Can you send a team of reporters?") what Farrow is suggesting here is merely that individuals internalize Darfur -- join the victims in a brotherhood of pain, become tourists of suffering, feel better about themselves by feeling worse. Farrow's website seems to be devoted entirely to Darfur. You won't find a lot of dish about the making of Rosemary's Baby.

Darfur has already been thoroughly publicized. If the genocide could be halted by celebrity talk, it would have ended when George Clooney discussed Darfur on Jay Leno's show. The years go by, the guests sit down on the couch and get up from the couch, and Omar al-Bashir goes on killing.

Farrow seems to be admitting the pointlessness of her exercise when she talks about the end of her fast: "When I can no longer continue, I pray another will take my place." If being unable to "continue" means unable to continue fasting, it sounds like she's already made a date with the all-you-can-eat buffet. People fast for a few days all the time. They "detox." They "cleanse." Is Farrow asking a brutal dictator to take note of her spa schedule?

A strike isn't really a strike unless it carries a threat of being open-ended. Maybe by "when I can no longer continue," Farrow means "no longer continue to speak" because she is planning on sticking to her guns. Maybe she is anticipating her strike ending not with a buffet but with martyrdom.

If so, the answer to the question "Why now?" seems to be: Maybe Farrow just saw a movie on this subject. A month ago, the harrowing film Hunger, about the 1981 IRA hunger strikes, hit theaters. It shows  Bobby Sands, who makes clear in a conversation with a priest that he knows his strike will end in his death, but also knows that it is necessary to make a political point. "The men will start consecutively two weeks apart," Sands says in the movie. "Somebody dies, they'll be replaced. There's no shortage of us." Farrow says, chillingly, "I pray another will take my place." I hope she isn't going to throw away her life. I used to act out scenes I saw in movies too. But I was 12, and the movie was Superman.