Actor George Clooney wrote an op-ed piece demanding an end to the rapes and genocide going on in Darfur, Africa. Although he recently married human rights lawyer Amul Alamuddin, Clooney is not new to the activism game. Ten years ago Clooney, along with other big-name celebrities, rallied against the atrocities that the war brought to the defenseless people of this region. The plight of Darfur citizens saddened celebrities, while spurring a young high schooler named Kayla Mueller to raise awareness about the genocide in that country.
According to Clooney and co-author John Prendergast, peace keepers are too eager to believe the untruths that the violent regime spews. They report that U.N. peacekeepers pulled out of an area that regime leaders claimed was stable, when it was not. This lead to the genocide. There were no witnesses or objectors.
In addition to genocide, the groups use mass burnings, not unlike the one suffered by Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Homemade barrel bombings and mass genocides are de rigueur in the region. However the mass rapes are particularly troubling and unsettling to the American people’s conscious. Human Right Watch gathered the testimony of over 100 eyewitnesses and survivors of a brutal attack wherein more than 200 women and children were raped by the Sudanese army within a 36-hour period.
Clooney points to slow change, short attention spans and division in the U.N. as to the reason things have not changed within the decade. In addition, Darfur, which its vast coffers of gold in Tabit, is suddenly very important to the Sudanese. Tabit, located in northern Darfur is where the mass-rapes occurred.
The Daily Beast backs up Clooney’s troubling account. In a recent article, author Nina Strochlic agrees that this volatile region in western Sudan is not as much in the public eye as it was 10 years ago. Back then, students like Kayla Mueller wore “Save Darfur” t-shirts will attending one of 22 concerts to raise awareness in 2006 alone. Left unchecked, the Sudanese army has gone on a rampage. Daniel Sullivan, director of policy for United to End Genocide stated that he hadn’t seen such brutalization of women and children since the genocide was at its worse. In one case, a woman and her three young daughters were all brutalized. The soldier told them, “We are going to show you true hell.”
Americans like Kayla Mueller sympathized with the “true hell” Darfurians lived in daily and wanted to do her part to help. Although without the status or gravitas of Clooney, when she attended Northern Arizona University in 2007, she was active in the campus’ Save Darfur Coalition. Clooney is also going above his station as an actor and activist. Besides penning an op-ed piece in the New York Times, no less, Clooney, along with Prendergrast, have installed a Satellite Sentinel Project to report the atrocities of this war. Says Clooney, “We are going to keep watching and reporting…”Darfur blocks journalists, but Clooney remains undeterred.
However, it does not help that there is seemingly no condemnation for the nation from the United States. Sudanese Foreign minister Ali Armeti Karti and Dr. Ibrahim Ghandur, the head of Sudan’s political party, are allowed to freely travel back and forth to the United States. In addition, their presence at this year’s Presidential Prayer Breakfast is an affront to the institution of prayer and oration.
By Danielle Branch