Friday, September 15, 2006

Go George! Clooney confronts the U.N. on Darfur

This story really impresses me. George Clooney is actually doing something about the Darfur emergency. His strong words to the U.N. should be yet another wake up call to the world.

Inside, Clooney told the U.N.'s most powerful body that it must send replacements for the African Union's 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur when its mandate expires at the end of the month. If it did not, aid workers would have to leave and the 2.5 million displaced people who depend on them would die.

"After Sept. 30 you won't need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones," the 45-year-old actor warned. The Sudanese government has refused to approve the replacement of African Union peacekeepers by a U.N. force, saying it would violate the country's sovereignty.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and over 2 million have fled their homes since 2003 when ethnic African tribes revolted against the Arab-led Khartoum government. A May peace agreement signed by the government and one of the major rebel groups was supposed to help end the conflict in Darfur. Instead, it has sparked months of fighting among rival rebel factions that has added to the toll of the dead and displaced.

"The United States has called it genocide," Clooney told council members. "For you it's called ethnic cleansing. But make no mistake _ it is the first genocide of the 21st century. And if it continues unchecked it will not be the last."

In stark words he told the U.N. diplomats: "In many ways it is unfair, but it is nonetheless true that this genocide will be on your watch. How you deal with it will be your legacy, your Rwanda, your Cambodia, your Auschwitz." "We were brought up to believe that the U.N. was formed to ensure that the Holocaust could never happen again. We believe in you so strongly. We need you so badly. If not the U.N., then who?" Clooney asked.

Clooney is telling it like it is. In this post 9/11/2001 world, we have become preoccupied with our own security. The poor people of Darfur have not made it on to our radar screen in any meaningful way. How can this happen??? Again I ask, where are our real leaders? I'm ready to vote for George Clooney.


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