Cynthia Nixon, the actress from the show "Sex and the City," has announced that she will go on a hunger strike in front of the White House as a protest of Israel's bombing of Gaza.
It's not going to be any hunger strike. Oh no! It's going to be a hunger strike for TWO WHOLE DAYS!
Okay, now call me an old curmudgeon, but my impression has always been that hunger strikes actually have to have an element of risk to them. Like, "I will literally die of hunger if this objective is not met." That's the whole point of their effectiveness. When highly charismatic people like Mahatma Gandhi went on a hunger strike in the 1930s to protest the British separating India's electoral system by caste, it was effective. Gandhi was putting his life on the line in good faith, knowing that people would be concerned enough about him to put pressure on the UK. And even if his hunger strike did not work, Gandhi was willing to die for his cause. That is the root of what makes a hunger strike effective: the willingness to give your life for your goal.
Cynthia Nixon on the other hand is doing.... what exactly? A two day juice cleanse?
Let's listen to what she has to say in her own words.
“We are here hunger-striking just to sort of mirror to [President] Biden the kind of deprivation that is happening in Gaza and how he has it within his power to make a ceasefire happen,” Nixon said at the rally, according to Time and Times of Israel. “None of this is normal. None of this is routine and none of this can be allowed to continue.”
And to Cynthia Nixon all I can say is: Please don't. Please don't. There is nothing more empty than a rich woman carrying out a performative hunger strike. It doesn't help the Palestinians to see a Hollywood actress carry out a glorified coconut water detox by choice. It is sheer buffoonery for lawmakers to join Nixon in a hunger strike "for up to five days" according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Girl, how is this helping people in Gaza exactly? It's almost like you're rubbing it in their faces that you have food and water and power and and wealth and comfort and you're performatively giving up a portion of that for a delicate two day period because.... you're bored? You want clout? You see the trauma of a nauseatingly complicated geopolitical situation as an opportunity to elevate yourself?
Cynthia Nixon has wealth and she could have used that wealth to help refugees arriving in this country find housing and find jobs. There are refugee aid organizations everywhere that always need volunteers. The problem is that letting an immigrant family stay in your house, tutoring refugee children and spending hours driving around delivering food is hard, unglamorous work. It is easier to participate in an ostentatious, limited fast or make endless Tiktok videos than to actually help refugees and those who have suffered from war.
Let us not fall into the trap of using overseas horror to boost our social media profiles while pretending we are merely "raising awareness" or "speaking out."
There have been enough words. Words only help to a limited extent. Unless you are feeding, housing or giving tangible material help to those who are less fortunate, your beneficial impact on this world is very small indeed.