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Individual and Collective Conscience

I am so moved by Mia’s decision to end her fast and Richard Branson’s decision to step in. I really applaud Mia for deciding to do what is necessary to care for herself so that she can continue to lead this fight on behalf of the Darfur people. Too often I think people pursue social justice work to the ends of their limits and then, facing burnout, quit. Movements lose their energy, and individuals unintentionally become a disservice to their cause by not caring for themselves so as to ensure they remain strong. I am reminded of the words we hear every time we get on an airplane – if you are traveling with a child, please put on your oxygen mask first before helping someone in need. I’m glad that Mia has chosen to take a rest, affix her oxygen mask and renew herself. And I can only imagine that she does so with deep humility and deep concern for the million of displaced Darfuris who can no longer see a doctor, cannot end their hunger and cannot avoid the increasing probability that their children and families risk starvation.

I am so in awe of the power of consciousness within a collective body to move and inspire others. I am wondering whether we have or will have other spiritual or religious leaders, political leaders, business leaders and cultural leaders joining this fast. And I am comforted by the growing support of grassroots citizens and even whole communities that are bringing new awareness of Darfur to their neighbors. I am also continually shocked that in this day and age of technology it is so very hard to mobilize enough people, enough voices, enough political influence, enough media and enough power to reach the tipping point to end a genocide. There is no excuse. I sit here observing this extraordinary paradigm of deepest personal action and greatest collective non-action and just pray that the former will shift the latter.

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