Academy Award winning actor and director George Clooney does not have a new film to promote. He does not want to call attention to a high-profile romance he's involved in. He simply, like so many other Americans, wants there to be more aggressive action on the part of the United States and the rest of the international community with regards to the genocide ongoing in Darfur.
"It's not a political issue," Clooney has said, "It's not about left and right, conservative or liberal points of view. It's only about right and wrong." While the idea of Hollywood movie stars lecturing about the world's dilemmas may make some people cringe or complain the reality is that Clooney has been one of the few consistent and influential voices on this problem. In April he and his journalist father, Nick Clooney, made a highly publicized visit to the region and footage they shot of refugees there helped get the Darfur crisis back in the news again for the first times in months.
President Bush appears paralyzed on this issue by his aversion to the International Criminal Court and his dedication to the quagmire in Iraq. Meanwhile, Sudan's Khartoum government continues to allow the Janjaweed militia to continue mass murder. A recent study by two scientists from the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University has found that nearly half a million people have perished since the violence began, far more than has been recently estimated.
While all the President seems to be able to do is muster cranky complaints about the UN from the Rose Garden, last week, Clooney, along with Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel has been engaging in talks directly with members of the international community in the hopes that they can provide the pressure necessary to break the seemingly unending deadlock within the African Union's Peace and Security Council about how to act. "The critical hour for Darfur is now," said Clooney.
As a society we tend to roll our eyes collectively when rich and famous celebrities take up causes such as these but no matter what you think of Clooney's work or his intentions, he happens to be right about this. Something must be done.