Why George Clooney got himself arrested
Actor and activist George Clooney, who just returned from a trip to Sudan, is taken away during a protest outside the Sudanese Embassy i Washington on Friday,
March 16th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Why George Clooney got himself arrested

Editor's Note: Mark Leon Goldberg is the managing editor of the UN Dispatch blog.

By Mark Leon GoldbergUN Dispatch

By now, you have no doubt heard that George Clooney, several members of congress, and a bunch of other activists were arrested protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC.

Here’s why George got sent to the slammer:

You’ve probably heard of Darfur, the region in western Sudan where the Sudanese government used genocide as a tactic to surpress a rebellion.  And you have also probably heard that there was a 20 year civil war between Sudan and South Sudan.  That civil war ended with a 2005 peace agreement. Per the peace agreement, South Sudan became an independent country last June. It is the UN’s newest member state.

The border region between South Sudan and Sudan is called the Nuba mountains. This area is largely populated by ethnic groups that supported the South during the civil war, but now find themselves living on the north side of the border. For several months, the Sudanese military has been trying to purge their former adversaries and disarm rebel groups.  Some of the tactics the Sudanese government has used are very reminiscent of Darfur: namely, targeting the civilian populations to get at the militias.

But that’s not really why Clooney got himself arrested. The fighting I describe has largely subsided. The Sudanese government has basically won. Now, they are punishing the civilians who still live in the Nuba Mountain border regions by blocking humanitarian access to the region.  The Sudanese government is not letting groups like the World Food Program, UN Refugee Agency, or Red Cross/Red Crescent bring food or medicine to people in the region.  The UN is warning of a looming famine and mass starvation in the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan. About 200,000 people on the Sudanese side of the border are at immediate risk of starvation.

So, the “demand” that George Clooney and the other protesters made to the Government of Sudan was to let humanitarian agencies access vulnerable people in the Nuba region.  Blocking food aid is a tactic that the Sudanese government used to destroy populations in Darfur, and now it is repeating that same tactic in the Nuba mountains.

George and the others got themselves sent to the slammer to draw attention to this very urgent humanitarian emergency.  Hopefully, people will take notice of the underlying reason why Clooney is spending his Friday afternoon in a DC jail cell.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mark Leon Goldberg.

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Topics: Africa

soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Anika Genovese

    I agree with therodman54. Let's feed all the starving civilians home in the USA, then worry about Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, etc! Who is protesting for humanitarian aide to our own homeless and poor??????

    March 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Dysan

      The poverty in America is not the same poverty that Sudan is experiencing. Extreme poverty defines no food, no water in short famine...When you see it personally like George did when he went there, then maybe you will forget the poverty taht you are talking about.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  2. Jeffrey R. Bansemer

    I'm from the 60's back in them days he would not be in jail all a lone like this the heppies stood together though out the whole usa fill every jail and perisons to it's fulless and still need 10 of 1,000's more cells for protesting only way goverment hear us when they are lossing 1,000,000's and every one can't work being in jail no paying taxes they loss two different ways have no money not usa every state , then took over changes were made by the states and took care of our own each other the week the sick and the helpless and stood our ground all kill no one no guns booms couldn't say take about the goverment with their own people took years but changes were made we are very powerful in numbers with our own goverments but did pretty much go word wide one thing we need to do again no have to do now then when over I want to see another wood stock first one , by the people for the people party like it was our last 4 days of life on earth all and every one from all over the word ya I did it saw all went to jail more then once with brothers and sisters every one brothers and sisters no one went hugery the suck were taken care of the helpless were help good and bad were taken in given love hugs and no one was judged with love we became as one ..........and all the gods were with us all I want before I move on to real new life times were are people standing side by side all together wow any on be leave in carma wow in writing this my is on his way with grandson for visting this weekend not wood stock same love and good feelings come on all lets do this again and the usa the strong again and powerful all stand together love,peace............Jeffrey R. Bansemer seinrer hugsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss hugsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    March 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  3. Barbara

    George, meet Tomo!

    March 17, 2012 at 5:34 am | Reply
  4. Lintrigue

    His is a actor, so he acts.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Imán

      Who better to bring this cause to light BUT the best!!

      March 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  5. GeorgeBush XII

    Because he is a schill like that war Monger for the United Nations Angelina Jolie, and wants to get credit for something that alot of other people have been protesting for a much longer time. "He's a Corporate F'n Schill, everything he says is suspect." -Bill Hicks

    March 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  6. 15 usa soldiers ra pe 2 afgani women before killing them

    the afgani investigation and the international lab proved now that 15 usa soldiers was involved of killing more than 16 children and women, and that 15 soldiers ra pe 2 afgani ladies young ladies ra pe them repeatdley and then shot them dead and burned there bodies , exactley as it happened in iraq when usa soldiers ra ped 14 years old girl then shot her and shot her parents and brothers and burned there bodies ...usa did that in vitnam ,korea and many other places they are murderous thugs ra piest killers and OBAMA say soyy all the time!!?/while leaving evil iranians and evil syrian bashar al asad killing more civilians obama is a cowered president if obama want to fix this problem he must attack syria now and remove bashar al asad to show to the muslim world that he mean it, remove the evil in syria now and prove your point OBAMA.......why you are silent...SILENCE IS A CRIME.

    March 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  7. Joseph1401

    Wow I am really impressed with George Clooney (not a fan of his and nor do I think he is a good actor), but boy what he did yesterday was bloody marvellous and bloody brave, I admire your courage sir, it goes to show that there are celebrities that do care and will stand up for what is right, unlike the ones who just want attention, by either drinking too much, doing drugs and getting arrested for petty crime, well done Mr Clooney an dthank you for using your celebrity status to raise an unfair issue, altho this issue maybe miles away from. there are people like me in this world who appreciates your sentiments.

    March 18, 2012 at 4:53 am | Reply
  8. Imán

    George Clooney, his Father and Brad Pitt are stepping up to the plate when it comes to their humanitarian involvement. My point is they are living very comfortable, therefore, to share their $$ and get arrested (jail) bring to light those misfortunes that are suffering gloomy conditions; my hat is off to them and the hardship they face for their cause/believes.

    March 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  9. Katey 956

    As a Canadian watching this story unfold I am grateful to know some celebrities will use their status to attempt to improve humanitarian conditions in our world. There is still so much that needs to be done. I know George, Brad and even Sean Penn are human activitsts. It may not seem to some that they aren't doing enough but every drop in the bucket helps. We all need to get involved like these fine men.

    March 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • Katey 956

      To all of my American cousins. Pardon my jumbled message I meant human rights activists but I think you all get the point I was trying to make.

      March 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  10. Mario Wedding Photography in Sydney

    Looking almost more than one year but it was sad news to see Clooney arrested... He is one of my favourite actor in hollywood..


    May 9, 2013 at 10:10 am | Reply
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