Clooney, senators urge action on Darfur
Actor George Clooney joined Senators Sam Brownback, left, and Barack Obama to discuss Darfur Thursday.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Oscar winner George Clooney Thursday joined two senators, Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas and Democrat Barack Obama, to appeal for greater action to address what is being described as genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.
The three urged more attention across the board -- by the United States, other nations and world institutions.
"What we cannot do is turn our heads and look away and hope that this will somehow disappear," Clooney said.
"Because if we do, they will. They will disappear," he said, noting that an "entire generation of people will be gone. Then, only history will be left to judge us." He pointed to the massacres in Rwanda, Cambodia and the Balkans in recent years. (Watch Clooney get passionate about Darfur -- 1:59)
The director and recent winner of an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in "Syriana" will be attending the Save Darfur rally in Washington Sunday, one of several such demonstrations across the United States.
Other prominent speakers expected at the Washington rally include Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, "Hotel Rwanda" proprietor Paul Rusesabagina, entertainment mogul Russell Simmons, Olympics gold medalist speed skater Joey Cheek, and former NBA star Manute Bol, who was born in Sudan.
Clooney was recently in Sudan with his father and showed a brief film of their trip.
He related a story about meeting a "little elf of a young woman" who asked him in Arabic, "When will you come back," and "When will you stop this?"
He said he told the translator to tell her that "we'll be there soon."
Clooney said she laughed, held onto his finger and said, "That's what you always say."
Clooney noted that world bodies have given various reasons why they cannot expend their resources to deal with the conflict.
For example, the U.S. government is stretched thin militarily, the United Nations doesn't want to step on the toes of the African Union, and NATO is worn down by the Afghan conflict.
"It is the first genocide of the 21st century," Clooney told an audience at the National Press Club, and what the people in Darfur "need now is the American people and the world's population to help them."
The issue transcends politics, said Clooney, flanked by Obama and Brownback.
The crisis in western Sudan's Darfur region has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of nearly 2 million people since February 2003, when people there began to rebel against state authority.
The government launched a campaign to put down the rebels, and in the resulting fighting, the number of casualties and the refugee crisis grew.
An Arab militia, the Janjaweed, has attacked ethnic black Africans, raping women and pillaging villages. The militia is accused of widespread atrocities with the support of the government, and drought has compounded the problem.
More than 200,000 refugees have fled to Chad, seeking refuge from famine and war.
In 2004, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell labeled the crisis a genocide.
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