Clooney Shines a Light on Sudan — But Terror Continues

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Some years ago, when Sudan’s Islamist regime was waging genocidal jihad in South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains, I arranged a State Department visit for an Episcopal bishop from that region. Bishop Bullen had a warm, sympathetic reception from then Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Dr. Paula Dobriansky, (those were the days!). But his meeting paled in comparison to the hubbub taking place just down the hall. Every door in the corridor was open. State Department staffers filled the doorways, smiling and waving, as actor Richard Gere and his entourage passed them.

Bullen was the Bishop of Lui, in South Sudan’s Equatoria region. His devastated diocese was as stark as the moon’s surface. His cathedral and hospital had been bombed by the Sudanese government of Omar al Bashir at least seven times. And his brother – just one of millions of victims of Khartoum’s jihad – had been tied up and dragged behind a jeep until he was dead. Seeing the bishop’s puzzlement at the near-hysteria in the hallways, I explained that it was due to an American movie star, an activist who would be speaking about China’s occupation of Tibet at a hearing on Capitol Hill. “If only some movie star cared that much about Sudan!” Bishop Bullen smiled wistfully.

If Bishop Bullen were still alive he would be very pleased to know about George Clooney. An actor who does truly care about Sudan, Clooney first brought his star power to the issue of western Sudan’s Darfur region around 2006, but he has broadened the scope of his advocacy to include all of Sudan’s marginalized people. In December 2010, Clooney went to South Sudan during the preparations for the referendum on secession from the north. There was fear of attacks by Khartoum’s National Congress Party regime, and Clooney, who endured malaria and stomach ailments during his visit, said that by shining daylight on the situation he was making it “harder to kill people.” The referendum did go through extremely peacefully, with 99.9% of the people voting for freedom.

Earlier this month Clooney used his powerful command of the media to attest to Sudan’s current genocidal conditions, taking on the regime of the ICC-indicted war criminal Omar al Bashir, the U.S. State Department, and the international media to press the need for immediate aid and protection for the people of the Nuba Mountains, where time to save lives is running out. The Nuba – the indigenous African ethnic groups (about 40 tribes) of the Nuba Mountain region in South Kordofan – face starvation this month. They have been unable to plant their crops because of constant aerial bombardment by the Sudan Armed Forces since June 2011. Instead, they have been hiding from the bombs in stark, snake-and-scorpion-filled caves, existing on terror and a sub-subsistence diet. Now the little food that they have is running out, and the Khartoum regime has blocked access to all humanitarian aid.

On March 14, 2012, Clooney and John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, testified before the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing entitled, “Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.” Clooney, whose powerful testimony followed that of the State Department’s Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, and U.S. Agency for International Development official, Nancy Lindborg, screened for the Senate committee a video he had just made during a trip to the Nuba Mountains the week before.

In the video Clooney meets the terrorized Nuba citizens of burned-out villages, hiding in caves from Sudan’s Antonov bombers just as they were forced to do less than a decade ago during the north/south war. He visits the wounded in a makeshift clinic, including a nine-year-old boy who had lost both hands during a bombing raid the day before. He stands beside both an unexploded bomb, buried up to its unspeakable neck in the dirt, and a man killed by an exploded one, lying unburied in the dirt.

The actor/activist says to a Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) soldier: “This is simply trying to clear people out – ethnically – because of the color of their skin.” The soldier, who is fighting together with fellow Nuba to protect his people from Khartoum’s extermination campaign, agrees, and adds, “They want to destroy the blacks and put the Arabs in.” When Clooney asks the soldier how long his people have been there, the soldier smiles and replies, “since Creation.” The testimony bolstered a bipartisan group, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), who had introduced a resolution demanding humanitarian access to the region.

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  • Amused

    Thank you for a truly OBJECTIVE article . Clooney is no "johnny come lately " on this issue , he is a good man using his public platform for good . Indeed, like his father , who's done a good job bringing up a good son .

  • Bamaguje

    Thanks Faith, for keeping this troubling issue on the front burner, while the first Muslim ‘African’ president of the United States is more preoccupied with the plight of his Arab masters in Libya and Syria.
    Kudos to you and George Clooney, we Africans owe you a lot.

  • Houyhnhnm

    Ms McDonnell, South Sudan has a close relationship with Israel. Do you have information and comments about this?

    • Faith

      South Sudanese have a close relationship with Israel. They have connections that go back to Biblical days. But not just SOUTH Sudanese — the Beja, Nuba, and Nubians (who go back to the Nubian Pharaoh of Egypt, King Taharqa who, according to the Bible assisted King Hezekiah when Jerusalem was under siege by Sennecharib of Assyria) as well, for example. Right now Israel is on the verge of deporting South Sudanese refugees who risked their lives to flee from Egypt there because the war is over. But South Sudanese need some time to make this assimilation work out. Some Israelis don't seem to perceive the difference between questionable refugees who may or may not be associated with Al Shabab, Al Qaeda, or other factors detrimental to Israel, and South Sudanese refugees who love Israel and the Jewish people, and who have fought against the same enemy that the Jewish people face. Please, Israel, let them stay a little longer!

  • Dispozadaburka

    Finally, some clarity on this issue.

    Major news outlets made the whole protest sound vague.

    It takes alot of courage to speak up.

    Kudos to Clooney is right!

  • waltjr

    Faith as always you have written a very important piece concerning the plight of the Sudanese Genocide and Persecution. It is refreshing to see someone as yourself who has worked tirelessly to get the TRUTH out.

  • Schlomotion

    In the interest of subjugating the Gazans, Israel helped bring South Sudan into existence and then gave them a deal: $1,300 and a plane ticket if they voluntarily resettle, but any who do not repatriate will be deported. We should give American Zionists the same deal. American Jewish World Service is running the Save Darfur campaign. We wouldn't hear so much about the Sudanese genocide if it were not part of an effort to break up Sudan, eliminate all the Muslims and add to the territory of Israel. While, I am happy that the Sudanese are getting a better life out of it, all this crap about Kony 2012 in Uganda is a spinoff of the splintering of Sudan. The Kony documentary was filmed by the weird pervert Evangelical, Jason Russell who was previously a Darfur film propagandist. I don't think we should trust these groups with any genuine concern for Africans.

    • Never Surrender

      And several butchers' aprons.

    • dave

      You're mad.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Some years ago, when Sudan’s Islamist regime was waging genocidal jihad in South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains, I arranged a State Department visit for an Episcopal bishop from that region.

    In other words, according to Ms McDonnell, Sudan's government is an Islamists regime, i.e., a radical Muslim regime. However, that can't be possible because the existence of so-called Islamist Muslims, radical Muslims, extremist Muslims, fundamentalist Muslims, peaceful Muslims, moderate Muslims, or whatever, just like the existence of radical Islam, extremist Islam, fundamentalist Islam, peaceful Islam, moderate Islam, or whatever are all false PC multicultural myths. Indeed, there are only mainstream orthodox Muslims and mainstream orthodox Islam and anything else is nothing but a foolish PC multicultural myth.

    This is simply trying to clear people out – ethnically – because of the color of their skin.”

    Of course, Arabic Muslims are some of the most racist people on the planet. However, the majority of Nuba people are also syncretic Muslims, and syncretic Muslims aren't considered to be true Muslims, and if they aren't true Muslims then it means they are infidels.

    Indeed, that latter point which is habitually glossed over or never even considered, needs to be front and center. In other words, the jihad being waged perpetually against the Nuba people is just another tiny part of the much greater global jihad at large being waged today against all non-Muslim unbelievers in the world. Of course, people like Clooney that are leftists blinded by PC multiculturalism will no doubt always deny it. However, it nevertheless is the truth.

    • Faith

      You haven't said anything that most of us don't already know. But again, the point is, are YOU doing something to stop the starvation and bombing of the Christians, sycretic/infidel Muslims (yes, they have had several fatwas declared against them by Khartoum), and animists in the Nuba Mountains? Politically correct George Clooney IS.

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Yes I am…I'm a proud anti-jihadist that fights against Islam, Political Correctness, Multiculturalism, and Leftism every day to expose the truth about the scourge of Islam. Indeed, as part of that fight I also often make light of the plight of the Christians and all other non-Muslim unbelievers as well unfortunate enough to be living in draconian Islamic totalitarian hellholes today as less than second-class dhimmi citizens, as they are the victims of violent oppression and systematic persecution, when not outright being slaughtered altogether, in every draconian Islamic totalitarian hellhole in the world today, with the Nuba people of Sudan being far from the only ones.

        Meanwhile, with respect to George Clooney, besides being afflicted by false PC multiculturalism, he is also a delusional leftist, and it is the left after the defeat of communism that jumped in bed with Islam, as Islam is just another form of totalitarianism to them.

        In fact, the main reason that Islam has been able to make so much in roads in such a short time in the West is primarily due to the left. Indeed, it's also the reason why so many of our political elites on both sides of the political spectrum today are so incompetent when it comes to defending and protecting America from the scourge of Islam.

        • trickyblain

          No, you're not. A man recognized by millions, giving millions and gaining national attention > A dude who writes the same thing over and over again on an obscure website's comment forum and uses the words "Indeed…in fact…meanwhile…hence" way, way too much .

  • Amused

    ObanaYO MOMMA now you're talking STUPID . Clooney's been involved in this for quite some time with great risk to his own well being . As was and is his father .Trouble with people like you , is you see everything through your own jaded lense , which in turn causes you to make stupid statements denigrating a good man like Clooney .As far as I can see Clooney and his Dad have done more than any American I know of , to alleviate the situation in Sudan . You are too free with the broadbrush and generalizations .
    LOL…even the author displayed a MUCH UNEXPECTED OBJECTIVITY in enumerating the DEMOCRAT Politicians who are trying to do something about this on going genocide. With his outspoken criticiam of the regime in Khartoum, Cloony is infact criticizing islam .

  • Faith

    ObamaYO MOMMA – you forgot to add "stealth" to your lofty description of yourself. I, too, am an anti-jihadist and have been shining a light on (rather than "making light of", like you!) and I don't do it in stealth. My name's out there. It's probably on the books in Khartoum and C.A.I.R… 'bout yours?

    • mlcblog

      how about we cooperate with and support each other instead?

      • Faith

        I agree, mlcblog. Even support the incomplete but heroic efforts of George Clooney!

  • trickyblain

    Good article about good people taking positve action to reduce suffering. Faith, please let us know if we can help in any way…

    • Faith

      Yes! Thank you trickyblain. First and foremost is to push the U.S. to deliver food across border to the Nuba Mountains and not give a rip about what Khartoum thinks. There are action items related to that on the Act for Sudan website. Also get your members of Congress to become co-sponsors of the Sudan bills in the House and Senate. And if they are already, please thank them! Positive reinforcement is always nice. Finally, we have to push back in the war of ideas. The marginalized people of Sudan could achieve regime change, if the Obama Administration and the U.N. don't stop them. The SPLA-North just won another ground battle in the Nuba Mountains and took back from the Islamists the town of Telodi. If we won't help them, at least could we please not stand in their way? Push Congress on this front, too.

      • trickyblain

        Great tips — especially the positive reinforcement. I know Pols loved to be loved. I'm seeing the following in the house, nothing in Senate so far for this session:

        – H.R. 4169 (In Committee) 31 cosponsors — needs more Republican support
        – H.R. 895 (In Committee) 34 cosponsors — solidly bipartisan

        Any others?


        • Faith

          Senate one is just a resolution at present, but will probably grow some teeth like the House Bill. Glad to hear that H.R. 4169 is up to 31! Yesterday it was only at 22, so that is 9 in one day. But you are right, there needs to be more Republican support. Some of the good reliable Republicans who always endorse Sudan stuff aren't on there yet, but I am sure we can count on them. e. g. Chris Smith, Spencer Bachus, etc. Those who have a focus on terrorism ought to understand that supporting the good guys in Sudan is supporting anti-terrorism efforts, as well.

  • Ghostwriter

    If anything,George Clooney deserves praise for getting attention for South Sudan.

  • DogsHateRomney

    Southern Sudan's mostly Christian population has been under genocidal attack from the Islamist-dominated North.

    Even WikiLeaks has shed light on the Obama administration's diplomatic activities on this crisis.

    Bashir will not be the first murderer and thief to benefit by promising peace to Obama's Administration. (Obama's Revisionist History … and his new anti-Israel Iranian/Turkish alliance )

    Yasser Arafat, an internationally wanted terrorist for decades who ordered the killing of American diplomats and who incredibly stashed away more than $10 billion (part of which was international aid money to the Palestinian refugees), received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 just because he promised "peace."

    The State Department Secretaries; Dean Acheson, – Cyrus Vance, – Warren Christopher, – James Baker, – Ed Muskie, – Lawrence Eagleburger, – Madeleine Half-bright, – – Sneaky-Leaky, Back-Stabbing LIAR Powell, – Replacement Theologist, Condoleezza .Rice, – and Marxist Ms. Clinton…are not exactly trust worthy persons.

    • BS77

      When Arafat got the Nobel Prize, we all knew it was as worthless as dog squeeze…..

  • jewdog

    The Obama administration is not interested in helping because the good guys are non-Muslims pitted against Muslims, thereby alienating the various Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers in the government, as well as the OPEC interests that have so much leverage on our policy. Far better to focus on stuff like the Martin-Zimmerman case to get a cheap boost from the feel-good crowd..

  • DogsHateRomney

    George Clooney, – Hollywood activist, tabloid heartthrob/Savior of the South Sudan.

    George Clooney is better known for dating women 20-years his junior, like Elisabetta Canalis, with "pert bottoms" (U.K. Mail) . who prance about, cavorting before paparazi at exotic beach locations like Mexico, or, Clooney's Lake Como Italian villa – while displaying their ass-ets to the world.

    One week ago:
    Dinner With Obama: First Class for One Percenters, Coach for the 'Average Folks'

    Read more:

    "Clooney and Canalis seemed to be a love match because they were both pet friendly and loved drinking wine together." So deep.

    Why elevate this man?

    • Never Surrender

      Are you jealous?

  • Mel M`

    Another excellent article Faith. You are someone who definitely "gets its" when it comes to Sudan. And kudos to George and the others who were arrested protesting the genocidal regime of Sudan. But lets not hold our breaths thinking that the Obama administration is going to do actually do anything to stop the carnage. The regime of Omar Bashir is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. And this, despite the millions of innocent people killed by this regime, is the main reason that Obama will not act. Its one thing to take out Mubarak, Ghadaffi, and other dictators who may have killed thousands. But if you have the MB on your side, you apparently have impunity!

  • Faith

    Thanks, Mel M! I take that as a high compliment coming from a long-time warrior like you. You are right about O. We have to just keep pushing, pushing. There are still, thank G-D, good guys and women in the Congress, and if we can keep the Nuba alive until November…Also, if some really dastardly evidence came out with concrete proof of Khartoum's global terrorism it might force the hand of O and the State Dept. Just praying. G-D will not abandon His people in Sudan (even when it looks like it).

  • DogsHateRomney


    The Light Shines on tabloid Leftist Clooney's date's "pert" – Cannes can, – In the Sudan……….wink.

  • thesilentwoman

    While I applaude Mr. Clooney's commitment to Sudan, Mr. Clooney clouds his humanitarian goals when he hosts benefit parties for President Obama—the same President who suggested that the people of Southern Sudan "negotiate" with al Bashir; the same President who will not welcome His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, through the front door of the White House because he values Chinese money more than he values the freedom of the people of Tibet; the same President who cannot risk alienating a big block of his Democratic voting base to "evolve" his position on gay marriage. If Mr. Clooney is researching his role in the Coen Brother's film "Piss on My Leg and Tell Me That It's Raining: My Experience With The Obama Presidency", he's doing a great job—if he's truly seeking to help these people, form a broad coalition of humanitarian orgs and become a "BIG VISIBLE VOICE" for humanitarian aid, relief and solutions to this issue, instead of becoming a fund-raising shill for Mr. Obama.