George Clooney: An Ambassador for Saving Sudan

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Peace talks have broken down between north and south Sudan. Some - including actor George Clooney - fear the country could return to a civil war if an agreement is not reached before next January's election.

Clooney has taken on many roles throughout his Hollywood career, but none more important than his current role as an activist promoting peace in Sudan.

"We need to get in there and do everything we can, not just as a country, but the world united in protecting these people," he told CBN News.

Click play to watch John Jessup's report, followed by comments from CBN News Senior International Correspondent Gary Lane on the situation in Sudan. 

Avoiding Bloodshed Now 

Clooney said he is worried that Sudan - a country that has witnessed decades of brutal and deadly violence - could erupt into all out civil war because of the upcoming referendum that could split the country in two and, perhaps, lead to more bloodshed.

"Our point is that this is one that you can do now, not mopping up afterwards," Clooney added. "Not coming in and saying, 'We didn't know about Rwanda. We didn't know about the Congo. We didn't know about Darfur' and millions of people died. This one we know about."

Clooney and John Prendergrast, a human rights activist who co-authored the book "The Enough Moment" with actor Don Cheadle, just returned from a week-long trip to southern Sudan.

Pendergrast said the Sudanese are excited about gaining their independence from the north's repressive Muslim-controlled government.

"They told us, in no uncertain terms, they're willing to fight and die for their chance at freedom," he said. "These guys have gone through centuries of horrors, the people of southern Sudan; slavery, slave raiding, colonialism, of terrible atrocities being committed against them."

"They finally are almost to the brink of getting their chance at independence," he added.They're not going to be denied."

Clooney's Megaphone

Clooney took up the cause after first traveling to Sudan in 2006.

Since then, he and others have tried to put the spotlight on issues there, like Darfur -- a region racked by genocide resulting in the murders of thousands and the displacement of 2.5 million people.

"The simple truth is I was late to Darfur," Clooney said. "I came in 2006, 2005, when faith-based groups, college students had been talking about for a long time. My job is to be a megaphone."

Prendergrast credits Clooney for raising public awareness.

"What George does, and has done consistently by going there... it puts literally tens of hundreds of thousands of new eyes and new voices into the constituency of conscience of people who are actually telling our public officials that it matters to us," he said.

Christian Workers' Impact

Clooney said he draws inspiration from many of the Christian workers who dedicate their lives for the cause.

"There are all kinds of great faith-based groups that are doing everything they can to help educate, take care of and protect so many people who are helpless," Clooney said.

"And so I have, first and foremost, the ultimate and utmost respect for everyone who's there, especially these young people," he said. "These young missionaries who are there really because they believe it's the right thing to do."

**Originally published Oct. 14, 2010.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at