We all hear about Hollywood celebrities going to jail for driving drunk, taking drugs, stealing, and bad misconduct. This is not the case for George Clooney. George Clooney and his father, Nick Clooney were arrested near the Sudanese embassy in Washington DC. Among the arrested were NACCP President Ben Jealous, Martin Luther King III, President of United to End Genocide, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast, as well as comedian Dick Gregory. There were also many members of congress and other activists arrested with them including Congressman Tom Andrews, Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA), Al Green (D-TX), Jim Moran (D-VA) and John Olver (D-MA) They were told not to cross a police line outside the embassy. Yet they did to make a point so that all Americans and the world would take notice.
George Clooney was protesting the Sudanese government emergency food and aid blockade in the Nuba region.
Prior to blocking aid to Nuba, the Sudanese government is well known for blocking food aid to Darfur in order to crush the population. The 20 year genocide finally ceased after the civil war ended. The country is now divided into two parts. The South gained its independence from the Sudanese government in June 2011, while the North remained under Sudanese control. The Sudanese government still wages war on South sympathizers who live in the North, such as in the Nuba region. Their goal is to purge adversaries of the North and disarm rebels. However, civilians are targeted to get at the militias.
More than two hundred-thousand people, some reports estimate 250,000, live in the Nuba mountains. These are the people are desperate for aid that is being blocked just because they stood for freedom from the Sudanese government. The UN states that this area is in a state of mass famine and starvation.
Among the groups blocked from providing aid include World Food Program, UN Refugee Agency, and Red Cross/Red Crescent.
It seems that George Clooney and others wanted to increase awareness to this serious threat to the people of Nuba by intentionally getting themselves arrested. Hopefully, we all take notice and make a difference.
In the coming days, who will take a stand? How will the people of the Nuba region fare if the world sits idly and watches? While I have no answers, we need to find a way to help these people. As a mother, a person, I can not imagine the lives these people are faced with every morning when they get up and the hunger they feel as they try to sleep each night.
In the Darfur tragedy, the number of people that died approached a million people before the United States and other international communities took action. Will we see a repeat of Darfur or will the international community act now?
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