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George Clooney’s Mission: Save Darfur

by Pamela Leavey

George Clooney is on a mission — to Save Darfur. Clooney was in Washington today for the Save Darfur rally just days after returning from a secret mission into Darfur with his television-anchor father, Nick Clooney. They smuggled cameras into the Darfur refugee camps to report on what’s been called the 21st century’s first genocide. This Week interviewed George Clooney this morning, watch the video clip here:

This Week’s Voices –George Clooney: The news is that two years after we’ve said “genocide” that it’s still going on and it’s increasing — and that somewhere in there we can all talk about this and make speeches and say this is horrible and we have to do something. But every day we don’t do something, and every day this goes on, thousands of people are dying and dying horrific deaths.

Samantha Power wrote a piece where she met with a woman who was running as they were coming into camp. And she [the woman] was holding two of her kids and her son following her, and they shot her son in the back, who’s six. And she ran up in the hills with her two daughters. And they came back, and they have stuffed the well full of parts of all the citizens of this little village, including her son. They poison the wells in every town they go into. They don’t want the land. They just want to [ethnically] cleanse everyone.

The unfortunate truth of it is it’s not somehow sexy enough news and it’s hard. It’s hard to look at, and after a while people don’t want to see it. And there’s a lot of, I think, wear and tear on people seeing a lot of tragedy. But while we don’t pay attention to it and sort of shut our eyes, there’s an awful lot of killing going on, an awful lot of rape going on.

Here’s the thing: We always see this now. We have tragedy fatigue on television. Every day, 20 kids [are] killed in Iraq or, you know, there’s always disaster. Pakistan, Afghanistan, there’s always horrible disaster in Nepal now. But this is genocide, and if everybody just got up right now out of their chair and picked up a phone and called their congressman, or called the number that registered with the president, it makes a difference. It always has.

The WaPo reports that among the speakers at today’s Save Darfur rally in Washington, D.C., were: “Rabbi David Saperstein; Al Sharpton; Joe Madison, a liberal black radio talk-show host who has been pushing the issue; Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention; rap and fashion mogul Russell Simmons; and former basketball star Manute Bol, who is himself Sudanese.”

This is one world, and we are all one family,” said Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of the Washington Archdiocese. “What happens to the people of Darfur happens to us.”

Speaking later before the crowd, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said: “Paralysis in the face of genocide is wrong. . . . If we care, the world will care.”

Lawrence B. Mogga, a former Sudanese diplomat who was forced to flee his country, stared at the crowd from his perch backstage and said: “I have never seen this type of organizational arrangement. I think this is the first of its kind.”

AFP/Saul McSween

George Clooney said, “The world policy on Sudan is failing. If we turn our heads and look away and hope it will all go away, then they will, and an entire generation will disappear.”


His father, Nick Clooney, a veteran journalist, said: “We didn’t stop the Holocaust. We didn’t stop Cambodia. We didn’t stop Rwanda. But this one, we can stop.”

Time magazine named George Clooney one of the Top 100 “People Who Shape Our World” today:

Some handsome men are like diamond bracelets. They show up on some woman’s arm, and you admire them, but they never really seem worth what you’d have to pay. Others are like Swatches: cute, disposable and interchangeable. In this taxonomy, George Clooney is a family heirloom.

First, he has the elegant patina of age. Second, as man and movie star, he’s more of a talking point than a bauble. Third, and most crucially, if he’s not yours already, short of murder, he never will be.

Ah, but, George Clooney is not just a handsome man that many women dream they could flout on thier arm, no — he’s got depth and soul and a sense of true compassion and caring about the world we live in…

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
George Clooney stands alone and bows his head during opening prayers at a rally to stop the crisis in Darfur, on the National Mall in Washington April 30, 2006. Several thousand Americans, led by religious leaders, entertainers and politicians, marched on Sunday to urge the United States to halt ‘genocide’ in Sudan’s Darfur region. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

One Response to “George Clooney’s Mission: Save Darfur”

  1. I consider Clooney and others like him a rare occurance:
    human masterpieces in a frame of beauty.

    In this story we have the full gamut of human character; from Clooney and the others trying to stop the genocide, to the people who will shoot 6 year old boys in the back and put their bodies in a water well to contaminate it.

    What I don’t understand about what is being reported is the missing political piece. Sudan has been fought over in most of it’s existance. In 6/89, the current government of Pres. al-Bashir came to power in a coup. The main political party was the National Islamic Front which continued until ’96, when, they changed their name. (Works for American companies in trouble) The leader of the party from ’89 (or before?) to ’01 was Hassan al-Turabi, at times the speaker of Parliament. Turabi is the kind of Islamic (alleged) religious scholar that preaches “a particularly violent flavor of hatred” R. Clarke “Against All Enemies”.

    When the Saudis told bin Laden in ’91 that he had to leave because he hadn’t followed warnings to stop criticizing the royal family, he moved to Sudan and became closer to Turabi. He brought along veterans of the Afghanistan war – Islamic jihadists. By ’96, a thwarted ’95 assasination attempt on Mubarak during a trip to Ethiopia had been traced to Sudanese terrorists, supported by their government.

    Several attempts were made on OBLs life and Egypt was threatening a military build up on the Sudanese border.
    After he left for Afghanistan, US intelligence got it’s first clear picture of OBL and his operation from an al-Qaeda defector in Sudan. The terrorist activities in Bosnia (in the guise of an army brigade) that he masterminded during ’92-’96 were eventually traced.

    The Sudanese military had been hitting on the Christian tribes in the country before OBL left. Since ’01, Turabi has been in trouble with Bashir, even in prison. But he has an army of Islamic jihadists in the country that follow his outspoken plan for Islamic supremacy. Men trained like the ‘muj’ in Bosnia who “engaged in ghastly torture, murder and mutilation that seemed excessive even by Balkan standards” (Clarke)

    So my understanding is it’s the OBL terrorists at work in Sudan, doing more obviously the last few years what they had been doing on a lesser scale for a decade. Maybe the fear of bringing this into the relief effort is that W will turn aid into a war. Sudan has oil. Or the terrorists might use it to claim the US is trying to invade the country.

    Want more? Clarke has the intel. info.(Chemical plant,etc)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudan – more complete info.
    Another country ravaged by religious and other invaders for ~ 2 millenia.