Friday, September 15, 2006

George Clooney & Darfur

Actor George Clooney on Thursday told the U.N.'s most powerful body that if it did not send peacekeepers to Sudan's Darfur region millions of people would die in what he called the first genocide of the 21st century. Clooney was addressing Security Council members at an informal briefing organized by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which recently set up a Darfur Commission of Nobel Laureates.

In the report on CNN, Clooney said, "after September 30 you won't need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones." Nice quote, Mr. Clooney. Dramatic for the microphone and gathered press, but bleached linen and shovels are the things Darfur has gotten familiar with over the last twenty years. What is different now is that the mandate of African Union peacekeepers in the region expires at the end of the month and the Sudanese government has refused to approve their replacement by a U.N. force. Clooney did stress the point that if U.N. forces were not sent to replace them, all aid workers would leave and the 2.5 million refugees who depend on them would die. This is true and the world needs to be reminded of this simple fact over and over again.

This genocide has been happening for twenty years making sporadic headlines until most recently in the past three years more international pressure has been brought to the issue. Mr. Clooney is not the first celebrity to find a cause to fight for. In the mid-eighties Bono threw a concert to get rid of hunger in Africa. The concert was a success though the mission result is a perpetual process. Make no mistake if this genocide continues unchecked it will not be the last. It is sad though that an A-list Hollywood actor is the best hope for women and children in Darfur.

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