George Clooney has written an article/editorial for The Daily Beast titled “Nothing New To Report”. It is about the current state of Darfur, Sudan, the millions of Sudanese refugees living in Chad, and the inability of any international organization to do anything about Sudan’s genocidal madmen.
Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has just been formally indicted by the International Criminal Court. Now somebody just has to go and arrest him, something that probably isn‘t going to happen any time soon. Perhaps this is why Clooney’s editorial piece seems like a study in controlled rage.
Clooney recently visited Chad and Sudan’s refugee camps. There was even controversy over whether the United Nations pulled his security detail because he was so vocal with his rage. As a wise man once said, if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. Here are the highlights from Clooney’s Daily Beast article, or you can read the complete piece on their site.
Last week, I visited a camp in Chad—a camp of about 12,000 refugees and internally displaced persons. I was there three years ago. The violence there is nowhere near the scale that is going on just miles across the border in Sudan.
I think what was most disturbing about the place was how little it had changed. “Normal” is 800 calories a day, sickness, threats of rebel violence, or just crime. When you see their faces, the hope that was there three years ago was all but gone. There are still moments.
…There’s too little hope. Time and time again they’ve seen the convoy of white trucks and even whiter faces pull up, drag out their camera crew and pull aside the most damaged family they can find. We film them as they give honest answers to questions no person should have to answer. “What happened?” “How did you lose that arm?” “Were you raped?” “By how many?” Then, just as they’ve seen time and time again, we jump back in our vehicles and run to the next place. “Not really tragic enough,” is said out loud (probably by me).
…I stopped on the side of the road on the way back to my fenced-in shelter to talk to a waif of a girl who surely was raped. But the answer was “no.” She was just sick and alone and scared. Not great headline grabbing stuff.
We all meet back up that night to assess. “Not much new.” “What’s the hook?” “What makes it fresh?” These are all the best intentions. Finding a new outrage is the only way to catch the world’s attention. You spend your time looking for (and even secretly hoping for) something or someone tragic to report. A good personal story to get the attention away from what dominates our days and nights. The economy. Iraq. Ponzi schemes. The Oscars.
…Nothing new to report—except the shame of what man can do to man. And the secret seems to be that the longer it goes on, the more tolerant all of us become of it.
And yet, in the middle of all of this, we get a tiny window of hope. The International Criminal Court has now brought charges and an arrest warrant to Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan. He is indicted for crimes against humanity. It’s the first time a sitting president has been charged by The Hague. By the time the ICC got to them, Slobodan Milosevic and Charles Taylor were both finished with their reign of terror. Omar al-Bashir is not. Not by a long shot.
How effective these indictments will be is now in the hands of the rest of the world. Will his government turn him over? Not likely. Will the UN go in after him? Doubtful. Even if he’s caught travelling outside the safety of his country would his government be much better with other equally dangerous leaders like “The Sudanese Six”—Harun, Taha, Kushayb, Hilal, Minawi? If I were a refugee I wouldn’t bet my life on it.
So then why is this such a significant moment? Because it tells the 300,000 brutally killed and 2.5 million displaced and raped and maimed that justice must always prevail. That the rest of the world sees their struggle and stands up and demands justice.
This is the moment. And if the UN can’t use it to insist on tougher sanctions, and the United States can’t use it to pressure China, and China can’t feel the eyes of the world looking to them for leadership in the country that they profit so greatly from, then the court and the rule of international law is lost.
Now we have a headline: PRESIDENT OF SUDAN INDICTED.
From The Daily Beast, George Clooney’s “Nothing New To Report”
George has received quite a bit of press from his visit to Sudan and Chad. After he went to the White House to speak with Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama, he pretty much gave a press conference, saying that President Obama had promised Clooney that he would send a special envoy to Sudan. Clooney also talked about it on Larry King Live, in between “ER” and Jennifer Aniston jokes.
I meant what I said before about this Daily Beast piece being a study in controlled rage. Clooney seems very, very angry about the situation in Darfur. Most experts pinpoint the start of this genocide as 2003 – so that makes six years that innocent people have been killed, mutilated, and much more. I’m sure some will disagree, but I like Clooney angry. I like him pissed off. You can tell how much his visits have affected him, and how invested he is.
George Clooney is shown on 8/27/08 at the Venice Film Festival. Credit: WENN