Mullets for Darfur
Save Darfur, Lose the Mullet

May
07

This is not exactly current news, but earlier this year, CHF, the NGO that was implementing the fuel efficient stoves project promoted on this site, was expelled from the country by the Sudanese government. Tragic indeed.

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May
28



In case you’re tired of only being able to track the situation in Darfur through news reports and foreign media, check out “Darfur is Dying,” an online game hosted by MTVU. (read: Telegraph review)
Serious gaming; that is: video games that serve to engage and educate players around issues often more serious and significant than traditional video games, are an innovative and potentially significant new tool in which to engage non-traditional audiences. In this case, the game effectively maintains the gravity of the situation, while providing an interest level that draws in the player, rather than alienating her.

Slightly skeptical at first, I found myself gradually beginning to connect and empathize with the plight of the character I enacted, hiding from Janjaweed as she scurried towards the well and collecting medical supplies at the IDP camp.

It’s an excellent resource to pass on to younger pre-teen audiences as well, as it depicts the situation in a manner that will not frighten them excessively, but rather allows the player to draw their own conclusions. Of course, it also points players towards specific ways in which they can help Darfuris impacted by the conflict.

Play Darfur is Dying or pass it on: http://www.darfurisdying.com/

For those interested in slightly more traditional media, the Washington Post has a marvellous little mini-site on the situation in Darfur.

And as always, I urge you to donate to the Fuel-efficient stoves project if you have not done so already.

May
23

Oprah

Exciting (if slightly belated) news! Oprah, the grand poobah of Woman-influence in this country, and possibly the world, has featured the Darfur Fuel Efficient Stoves project in this month’s edition of Oprah magazine!

From Care2 site’s transcription:

From Oprah’s O Magazine, June 2007 issue, page 48, “How Can I Help column, by Jan Goodwin:

“Fueling Hope:

If your reaction to news of atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, is horror mixed with helplessness, it’s time to get involved. Many women living in refugee camps have no choice but to put themselves in the path of government-supported militiamen, Janjaweed, as they rape and slaughter their way across the region. “To fuel their traditional cooking fires, women spend as much as seven hours a day foraging for scarce wood, and while they’re out searching, they’re vulnerable to rape,” says Christina Galitsky, an energy analyst at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. “The men can’t go instead because the Janjaweed kill them outright. And the women have become so desperate, they’re selling their food rations to buy wood.” Galitsky worked with her colleague, renowned scientist Ashok Gadgil, to develop a simple stove that reduces the amount of fuel consumed in cooking by up to 75%. There are 2.2 million refugees in Darfur who need about 300,000 stoves; for $30 you can donate one to a woman and help keep her and her family safe. Visit http://www.chfinternational.org/section/donate”

Since being featured, the donations have poured in for the project!

Sadly enough, there was no mention of Mullets for Darfur. Nevertheless, I have a proposition to share with all of you, but specifically with Oprah herself:

Dear Oprah,

I noticed you featured the Darfur Fuel Efficient Stoves project in the most recent May 2007 edition of Oprah the Magazine. However, I notice you did not featured the project on your television show.

I have an offer to make to you: as a long-time (relatively speaking) supporter of the FES project, and a long-time fan of your program–if you’re a friend of my Mum, you’re a friend of mine–I would humbly like to submit myself to you as an offer.

You may have noticed that I have a little site that features a mullet haircut that I had snipped specifically to raise funds for Darfur. It is gone now, sadly/fortunately enough. However, I am not quite done yet:

Big HTo be featured on your show, I will get my hair permed during an episode of your show into a FULL-BLOWN OPRAH PERM for Darfur. All of you audience participants will then win A LOCK OF MY HAIR! Additionally, the highest bidder will win a romantic date with me and get their own Oprah perm, if they so wish.

Alternatively, it would be nice if you just mention the FES project on your program.

Sincerely,

Mark
-Mullet entrepreneur and founder of Mullets4Darfur
(mullets4darfur.wordpress.com)

Apr
26

A raging success.

My previously-mentioned 80s Mullet Fundraiser party had a great turn-out, and indeed, a great crowd. Revelers of all colors, eclectic walks of life and sartorial dispositions rolled through the doors of the Q Salon on a beautiful early Spring evening for an 80s mullet fundraiser to benefit CHF International’s Fuel-Efficient Stoves project for Darfuri women that lasted well into the night.

On offer at the table of liberation was fairy bread and vegemite, two staples of any young Aussie child’s diet, growing up in the 80s or any time since. Tater tots were served from milk saucers, neon M&Ms ended up in Jello, and most lands of the world were represented by various libations, all set to a critical 80s-spiked soundtrack courtesy of DJ Mu-Lei.

Derek and the mystical fairy bread
A large pot was laid out soliciting donations for the Fuel-Efficient Stoves project that Mullets for Darfur was launched to assist, rapidly filling up with a healthy bundle of bills.

As the room filled and the dance floor gathered steam, it was soon time to cap the night with what the people had come to see: the snipping of the grand mullet. “Mick,” as I had begun to refer to my burnt sienna Kentucky Waterfall, had been flying the Down South pride flag for several months, and his end was imminent. Whilst “Land Downunder”, Juanes and some Soul II Soul kept the party groovin’, the thirteenth hour arrived. Silently, I mentally prepared to bid adieu to my shortlived, but much dis/appreciated friend.

As the opening notes of the Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi” echoed outwards, we gathered the crowd in close. Shweta, gracing the crowd with her pink leg-warmers and flipped pony-tail all night, had been pre-selected to perform the mighty deed. As she pulled the mighty scissor blades in close, the countdown began…

Shweta takes aim for the snip
With one hand grasping the entire animal in her hand, Shweta–a slight girl by stature–cut fiercely, clipping the beast in a slightly lop-sided, but altogether effective blow. Mick was held up to the crowd in triumph. The crowd cheered. Later on, they sighed with relief. All the while, the tunes continued to pump from my hardworking little laptop.

And just like that, it was gone. After months of playful tugs, finger twirling and public bemusement, the mullet was removed. Staring into the mirror, I felt partly naked, as if I had lost a dear pet. Such are the small sacrifices one makes to raise funds towards a deserving cause.

At initial count, the party raised over $300. Subtracting (some unexpected) expenses, the final total reached approximately $70.

PS: YouTube footage of the great snip to be uploaded soon.

Apr
07

After months of careful planning and strategizing, the well-paid staff at M4D have come up with a brand new way to increase donor rates:

More mulleteers!

And so we present to you: Julian, our newest (and youngest) member of the M4D fashion brigade.

Mullet junior

Julian, who is 1 year old, brings new energy, vigor, and a fresh approach to our mission. A seasoned analyst with work experience in Nepal, the United States and his mother’s womb, Mr. Julian is currently learning to talk. We encourage you to donate on behalf of Julian and family.

And with that said, the M4D campaign is proud to announce that:

M4D Membership has been opened, accomodatingly enough, to ALL MEMBERS OF THE MULLET NATION.

That’s right, we want your rat-tails, your fem-mullets, your fashion mullets, your rasta-mullets, your anything and everything that brings to the world that classic split between short and sweet business transaction up front, and groovin’ party time out back.

So please send your pictures to m4d (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s get this party started!

Apr
07

An update on the mullet growth situation is in order:
It’s been getting on a month since the launch of M4D and people are clearly interested in finding out how the mullet nastiness is going:

So after getting a roommate to snap some shots, I came to the realization that my little tadpoles swimming out back have since developed into a living, breathing ANIMAL of truly terrifying proportions. Clearly, something had to be done.
The animal
So I meditated on the predicament my mullet campaign was now in.
Mullet meditation
Finally, I thought of an obvious way to speed up the process: Why not throw an eighties mullet fundraiser kegger party to make the funds roll in quicker?

And so it is, that on Friday, the 20th of April, the Q Hair Salon’s Snipping of Mark’s Gigantic Mullet fundraiser party shall take place.

Mullets rock

Who ever donates the most will still have the chance to cut off the animal, but if they so wish, they could pass on the duties to a personally hand-selected friend to take care of the action. If over $250 is raised, it will all go: mullet and all, leaving me bald and monk-like.

It promises to be a good time, and I’m quietly confident that a good amount of money will be raised for the project.

Finally, if you haven’t already donated: do it now! It’ll only take five minutes and five dollars.

Lastly, the current total stands at: $96! I’m almost to the big triple figure mark. Can you believe it?…the power of the mullet as a cross-cultural, universal humanistic force for social change is real!

Apr
05

I have heard from a colleague that her friends are having a difficult time believing that this site is for real.

I can positively assure you that this is absolutely, 100%, dinky di, FOR REAL.

I will allow the highest donor to cut off my mullet locks, and I will send the top 10 donors a lock of my burnt sienna Kentucky Waterfall. All you have to do is donate!

So please, take the few minutes it requires to hop over to the site and donate. $5 recommended, but it’s all of your own accord.

And, as many of you might be wondering, I have kicked off the campaign with a reasonably solid opening. As of today, April 4th, I’ve raised: $50!

Because I haven’t asked their permission, and because some of them might not like their names being posted all over the net, I’ll just use initials and place of origin to identify the good-hearted donors:

D.T. – United States/China/Turkmenistan: $5
M.M. – United States/Mauritania: $5
R.W. – United States – New Jersey
M.H. – United Kingdom – Manchester/London: 10 pounds (about $20)
M.H. – United States/Malaysia/Australia: $10

Thank you for your support, and as we say where I come from: “Save Darfur! Lose the Mullet! Donate the Dollars!”

Mar
30

CiD

During my brief but undoubtedly impression-leaving stint for Aveda, I happened to meet a young filmmaker named Jason Mojica. What is the likelihood of two amateur hair models having an active or semi-active interest in Darfur? In DC? Not so surprising. He spent Christmas in Chad, shooting a documentary with the various resistance movements and refugee camps with a couple of buddies from the Chicago punk scene.

His film, Christmas in Darfur, is currently touring the country. In true DIY style, he is relying on grassroots and word of mouth distribution methods. Check it out!

Mar
29

The New York Times recently featured an insightful piece on aid workers working in Darfur. It is only because of their committed collective efforts that the Fuel-Efficient Stoves project can even be implemented.

MSF worker in Darfur

From the article:

Here in Deribat, a rebel-held town in the Jebel Marra mountains, help can arrive only by helicopter because government officials have closed off the road.

“They are strangling us,” said Ali Adam, a medical assistant who runs a clinic in Deribat, adding that 21 children have died here in the past three weeks of pneumonia because they have no antibiotics. “We are under siege.”

In other places, like Gereida, a vast camp of 130,000 people in a rebel-controlled area, violence has forced almost all aid workers to retreat. In December, armed men raided an aid organization compound, raping two women and stealing cars, satellite phones and computers.

Even in the areas supposedly within reach of relief organizations, like Kassab, bureaucratic stonewalling by the government keeps aid workers out much of the time. Aid agencies say their operations are tied in endless ribbons of red tape. Rather than being chased from the country by violence they are more likely to lose heart from the endless bureaucracy — a slow death by a thousand paper cuts.

Mar
21

Questions:

1) Is this site serious?

2) Why did you get a mullet?

3) How does it feel to have an actual mullet?

4) Why are you making light of such a tragic situation through your ridiculous haircut campaign?

5) Where can I learn more about the situation in Darfur?

6) Why did you choose the Fuel Efficient Stoves project?

7) Where do I go to donate?

8 ) I don’t live near Washington D.C. so I can’t cut your mullet off. So what will you do instead?

9) Where can I go to get a mullet?

10) Who is Mark?

—–
Answers:

1) Yes, absolutely. I am really trying to make some money for a project currently providing fuel-efficient metal stoves for women in IDP camps in Darfur by essentially auctioning off my mullet locks to the highest bidder.

2) Remember that kid in high school who always had a crack at mullets? The one with the mullet/80s/irony joke quick-draw? I was one of those kids. Some years later, having grown a little tired of faux-hawking and its various incarnations, I decided to grow a little length out back. Picked up at a Chinatown shop in Washington for a hair show by Aveda Institute, I said: “Why not?” and “You can do as you like.” They decided to run with the mullet, and Bob’s your uncle: I had a mullet. Things have come full circle, as they say.

3) It’s not that bad, to be honest. Most of the time, you don’t really notice it. Sure, it can be annoying having tufts of hair getting scrunched up in your scarf or coat, but after a while, you can just tuck it down your shirt collar and a lot of people don’t really seem to notice. The mullet tips have gotten a little clumpy at times, though, which is indisputably nasty. I can’t say I’m overly attached to my little ‘Billy Rays’, but I’m willing to let them continue their little coming out party until I’ve made enough money. The original target is $500 USD.

4) I see this campaign as part of the growing movement of “post-modern philanthropy.” (See the DC Idiotarod as an example) Like many other people who are interested in global humanitarian issues but a little weary of being hit over the head with “eat your spinach” moral aggrandizement, I like the notion of attaching something non-traditional and light-hearted (in this case: mullet hairstyles) to issues of continuing concern and weight. Just as social capitalism is an effort to break down the traditional dichotomy between socialism and capitalism, so does light-hearted charity attempt to break the false notion that all humanitarian drives need to be sombre and solemn in tone.

The last thing I am trying to do is make light of a particularly serious issue. Rather, I believe such non-traditional forms of philanthropy may serve to energize new donor constituencies and provide folks with a more enjoyable way to lend their hand to a critical humanitarian issue.

5) There are a number of sites dedicated to the conflict in Darfur. One that I recommend is that of the Save Darfur Coalition, an advocacy NGO based in Washington. The BBC has a useful Q and A, the International Crisis Group keeps relatively up-to-date reports, and the DarfurScores site tracks US congressional voting on the issue. I encourage you to contact your local elected official to voice your concern regarding the conflict, as well as the international community’s continued failure to stop the atrocities which are currently taking place.

6) This is the sort of innovative, beneficiary-owned project that international development needs more of. The stoves will allow Darfuri women to prepare food in a much safer and more environmentally sound manner. At present, many women in Darfur fear the very real threat of rape when they leave the relative safety of their camps in order to gather firewood. In addition, woodburning provides a poor energy source in an ecological environment as sparse and dry as Darfur. The stoves will remove a major source of physical and emotional insecurity, allowing IDPs the opportunity to focus on income generating activities, easing the already tremendous burden placed upon them by this most treacherous of predicaments they currently face.

7) To donate to the Fuel-Efficient Stoves project, please visit this link.

You can also donate by mail:

* Send your check or credit card information to:
CHF International
Resource Development
8601 Georgia Ave, Suite 800
Silver Spring, MD 20910
* Please make checks payable to: CHF INTERNATIONAL.
* Be sure to include “Darfur Stoves” as well as “Mark’s Mullet Fund” in the memo field (if you would like your donation to go specifically to that project).
8 ) If you would like to cut off my mullet, but don’t live near me, well…too bad. Unless you’re willing to come to Washington, you may have to make do with watching the event on youtube or something similar. I’ll be sure to make it into an online video. In addition, I’d be happy to send you the actual hair if you would like, perhaps in a cute little box. (If you’re somewhat close by, like Baltimore or New York, perhaps we can work something out.)

9) Good question, future mulleteer! Your local hairdresser should be able to take care of that, but as for pictures you might want to bring in with you, try this site.

10) I am Mark! I’m 22 years old, like to blog, and am the current wearer of the mullet in question. Originally from Australia, I currently live in Washington D.C., where I work for an international development organization.