Clooney Rallies To Prevent Impending Genocide In Sudan
First Published: October 12, 2010 5:31 PM EDT Credit: NBC
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- George Clooney is passionately speaking out to bring awareness — and hopefully prevention — to a possible impending civil war and genocide in Africa’s Southern Sudan.
The handsome humanitarian traveled with NBC’s Ann Curry and John Prendergast (founder of the Enough Project, an anti-genocide advocacy organization), to the war-torn region last week, to investigate the area that world leaders fear will soon be torn apart by violence when the country takes an independence vote on January 9. President Omar Al Bashir, who the International Criminal Court has indicted for genocide in Darfur, is expected to put up a vicious fight to keep South Sudan (because the region contains more than 75 percent of the country’s oil).
“There’s an awful lot of people that are in danger, and what are you going to say to the next generation? That you stood by and did nothing?” George asked Ann, during an interview regarding their joint trip on the “Today” show on Tuesday. “If I said to you right now, ‘There’s gonna be an earthquake and 200,000 people are going to be killed,’ what would you do? This isn’t a natural disaster — this is man-made. It can be stopped.”
“The American” star, who was instrumental in 2005’s campaign to end genocide in neighboring Darfur, believes the current situation — dubbed “a ticking time-bomb” by the U.S. Secretary of State — can be prevented without bloodshed.
“We stopped [the genocide in Darfur] in 2005, we stopped the north/south war that lasted 20 years and cost two-and-a-half million lives,” George told Ann. “And we stopped it with diplomacy.
“So yes, if we get involved now, we have a shot,” he added.
During last week’s visit, George and Ann traveled to the area’s most oil-rich region, Abyei, where the first episode of violence is expected to erupt following the vote for secession.
Abyei has been attacked before, including a bloody ambush two year ago, where witnesses say Arab militia men and government soldiers invaded the area, burning, killing and looting.
“I watched as my four nephews’ throats were slit,” a female survivor told Ann, of watching her family murdered while their hands were tied.
George will meet with both President Obama and Republican Senator Richard Lugar next week, and said this issue, much like the Darfur tragedy, crosses party lines and brings Americans together – something the actor hopes can be accomplished in a preventative manner this time around.
“We’re very generous people, Americans. We gave nearly a billion dollars a year in the Sudan to protect and help people after these tragedies,” he told Ann. “We’re going to be involved, one way or the other — we’re going to be there.
“It would be a lot better without spending a single dime, without costing any American lives, to get in there now with robust diplomacy, hard core diplomacy — freezing the assets, freezing the bank accounts, doing everything we can to protect the people who want to vote for their right of freedom,” he added.
George has endured many trials during his numerous humanitarian visits — including an electrical storm while flying in a small plane, having mice crawl over his body while sleeping in an African hut, live frogs inside toilets, and a unique blessing from “the grandmother of a friend.”
“The way you’re blessed is she spits in both of your hands, and then pulls you down and spits on your head,” George laughed. “And I hadn’t been blessed like that before. Or, they didn’t call it a blessing when they did it!
“So it was nice to be blessed. It felt good,” the actor added.
George has set up a website to bring further awareness to the crisis in Sudan – visit www.SudanActionNow.org to learn more.
Copyright 2013 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.