Protesting human rights abuses in Sudan, actor George Clooney was arrested at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC, during a protest against the nation’s President Omar al-Bashir. Also arrested in the protest was Congressmen Jim Moran (D-VA), Al Green (D-TX), Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Clooney’s father, Nick Clooney.
The protest was over al-Bashir’s blocking of food and other aid from getting to the border area with newly-minted nation South Sudan. According to reports:
Bashir’s forces created the dire food shortage in the region–predicted by USAID to reach near-famine levels this month–by bombing fields and preventing villagers from planting crops in July and August last year
Clooney was in town for the State Dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron. He also spoke privately with President Obama to discuss the situation in Sudan.
There is nothing wrong with Clooney standing up for what he believes in. But one should ask what is the expected result? Rep. McGovern stated during the protest:
“We are protesting to make sure the Sudanese government knows that the world is watching,” states Congressman Jim McGovern. “The United States Congress is watching. And we will be back again and again until they stop using food as a weapon; stop slaughtering innocent men, women and children; and stop spitting in the face of the world community.”
A consistent level of pressure might make a difference in Sudan. It’s exactly the methodology of the Tea Party, who continue to push elected officials on both sides of the aisle to end the reckless spending in Washington. Protesting is an important function, and should not be eschewed for political reasons.
However, what role should the United States play in Sudan, and what role do the protestors want America to play? Rep. McGovern talked about pressure, but not US involvement. Tom Andrews, President of United to End Genocide, stated a different opinion:
We need to hear the outrage from President Obama and see robust international leadership. The United States should immediately do everything in its power to get food to the region before people starve and increase sanctions on Bashir and his forces.
Considering the Hollywood angle Clooney brings to the protests, professional gossip Perez Hilton stated on his website: (emphasis mine)
This is a MAJOR issue that cannot go unnoticed!
It is UNBELIEVABLE how the Sudanese government is allowing this to happen!…We hope the United States steps in soon to help, before it’s too late!!!
Is Hollywood now making the claim that the United States can/should/must provide moral clarity around the world? If so, how? Exactly what should the US do? What would be stepping in? How does that work? Does it involve troops? How many?
To Hilton’s point, there are “MAJOR” issues happening the world over; Christians persecuted in Pakistan, women maimed under Sharia Law, the entire existence of the people of North Korea. If one “hopes the United States steps in soon” regarding Sudan, what of these other places and other people?
Clooney has the right to protest, and I applaud it. Protest, however, is different than our nation’s Armed Forces being put into combat due to one of many “MAJOR” issues. Perhaps it would be better to show the world, through our own actions, how to create a better society and foster individual freedom. Recognizing American Exceptionalism would be a great first step. Like this guy did: