George Clooney was arrested and subsequently released at a protest outside of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.
What is George Clooney fighting for?
He is fighting for people to pay attention to Sudan. The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Courtfor 10 counts of genocide, five counts crimes against humanity, and two counts of war crimes. One of the greatest war criminals of this century.
”This is a moment where we have a chance to do something because if we don’t, in the next three to four months, there’s going to be a real humanitarian disaster,” Clooney told The Associated Press just before his arrest Friday.
What’s interesting is that this is on the heels of the Kony Campaign, where Kony was declared the world’s worst war criminal. Why is it that the world paid more attention to Kony than they do to al-Bashir? Why is no one tweeting from the rooftops and sending messages to stop Bashir, make him famous?!
The world really hasn’t paid as much attention as it deserves to the situation in Darfur. There has been no campaign to bring Bashir to justice. While this is not to say there has been no advocacy or activism to support the people of Darfur and to bring attention to the cause. For example, George Clooney is one of the founders of Not On Our Watch, whose mission is to focus global attention and resources towards ending mass atrocities around the world, specifically Darfur. Clooney not only attends charity galas, events and state dinners, he has travelled to Sudan multiple times to meet victims of rape and torture, speaks out at rallies (Save Darfur) and the United Nations, makes films documenting the plight (Journey to Darfur, Sand and Sorrow,) writes letters and visits other governments (Germany, China, and Egypt) and can now add arrested for the cause.
Is Clooney’s celebrity able to bring enough awareness to the cause and result in policy change or Bashir’s arrest? As Clooney says
“I don’t make policy… all I really can do is amplify the situation and help to bring a spotlight to it.”-
The secret sauce of the Kony campaign was having something for people to feel like they could make a difference (as simply as a click of the mouse- sharing the Kony video, the tweets, signing the petition) and using the celebrities to engage their networks to
bombard lobby the policy makers to get them to make change. It’s hard to say which cause will result in change, but if Clooney wants more awareness and policy change, the message of what you can do to help, needs to be more clear and easy to do.