Fasting to Free the Hikers

We have never met Shane Bauer or Josh Fattal -- two young men who have been imprisoned for almost two years deep in the black hole that is Iran's notorious Evin prison. We haven't met Shane's fiancé, Sarah Shourd, who arrived home from her captivity last year, nor have we met their families and friends who have been suffering unbearably all along.

And yet, we feel connected to them -- because, this nightmare that they are living in could be happening to us, to our family. These are two young men who found themselves in the wrong place by accident and are being used as pawns in an international chess game.

We do not know them, yet we feel connected because injustice anywhere, against anyone -- be it in a third world nation, a first world nation (believe us, it's happening here in the US), or a rogue nation -- is an affront against all of humanity.

Today, at this very moment hundreds of thousands -- probably millions -- of human beings are being wrongfully imprisoned around the world. And therein lies the problem. There is no reliable number, because for every Shane and Josh whose captivity has created headlines to some degree, there are hundreds more ghosts toiling away in rotting cells across the planet.

And that's why Josh and Shane's situation is so important.

Because we do know about them. We can Google Earth their locations. We can identify their captors, if even those captors themselves have interminably dragged out their judicial system and failed to abide by any standard of justice. We can urge our own government to do something to bring these boys home.

See Josh and Shane have faces, faces we can link to families. But there are millions of others that are caught in the invisible world of indifference, left behind in a world so desperate to evolve and network and tweet, but who still quietly accept the primitive and tribal behavior of imprisoning innocent people for power, leverage, and politicking.

Yesterday, our family -- Gotham, Mallika, Deepak, Rita, and Candice and some of our extended family and friends from New Delhi to New York City and more -- observed a day of fasting in solidarity with Josh and Shane's courageous mothers who embarked on a hunger strike last Thursday.

We fasted in solidarity with the Bauer and Fattal families, but also for ourselves. Perhaps to feel that we were doing something -- anything -- to support innocent people being denied freedom.

And, while we were happy to do whatever we could to bring some small measure of attention to their plight, sadly, we know a one-day fast is nearly not enough.

Because, nothing will be enough until Josh and Shane are home in their mothers' embrace.

To learn more about how you can help Josh and Shane, visit

To learn more about how you can join the solidarity fast, visit the Facebook event page here

Gotham Chopra regularly blogs at