Switchfoot frontman John Foreman is going on a three-day water-only fast to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis currently taking place in Sudan’s Darfur region.
By joining Darfur Fast for Life on Tuesday, Foreman has also committed to encouraging long-term U.S. government actions to bring lasting peace to the people of Sudan.
"Can it be possible that right now, two and a half million people are waking up in camps and refugee camps having been driven from their homes by violent means,” asked Foreman as he prepared to begin his fast Tuesday. Under the same sun, could it be true that almost half a million people have died of starvation, violence, and disease over the past six years in Darfur? Is this true?"
“And if this is true, why has the media remained almost completely silent on the issue? Why has our government maintained it's current stance of inaction," he added.
Since 2003 – when mostly ethnic African rebels took up arms against the government, complaining of neglect and discrimination – up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million displaced in the conflict, according to U.N. figures.
The Arab central government, headed by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, is accused of unleashing Arab nomads known as the janjaweed militia on Darfur civilians after they rebelled against the Khartoum government.
Though the intense fighting is now a “low-intensity conflict,” according to the peacekeeping chief in the Sudanese region, there are still around 150 deaths a month and an “ever-present” danger of a serious escalation of conflict.
"We are deeply concerned about the risk of humanitarian catastrophe, not least because we are the most visible representatives of the international community in Darfur," Rodolphe Adada, who leads the peacekeeping mission, told the U.N. Security Council last month.
In a video, Foreman, whose rock band has supported many other humanitarian causes, says the fast is a "personal expression of outrage at a world that has allowed the suffering of millions of innocent people."
"We fast because as we simply watched, Darfur's defenseless people were forced into wretched camps where they face starvation and disease."
Responding to a concerned fan who doesn't feel it's right to publicize one's personal fast, Foreman offered that the fan view it as a hunger strike rather than a fast.
"I thought about Matthew 6 before I began this fast and feel comfortable with my decision to make this fast public," Foreman responded to the fan. "Fasting is one of the only ways I could think of to enter into the suffering of Darfur. Like I’ve said earlier – I honestly don’t have a better idea!"
"To bring it back to the specifics of this fast, Darfur remains the United Nations’ largest relief operation. More than 2.7 million civilians have been driven from their homes, and about 4.7 million rely on humanitarian aid to this day.
"And that is why I cannot eat," Foreman explained.
According to the latest update, people from 25 different countries are now fasting together.