He's been named the Sexiest Man Alive twice, but George Clooney is proving that he's far from just a pretty face with his unbelievable use of fame and funds to stop atrocities in North and South Sudan.
Now this is far from recent news, but for some reason Clooney's good deeds have never reached my ears. So if you, like me were unaware about the amazing humanitarian work of George Clooney, then strap in and be prepared to be impressed, because after all he said it best in Batman & Robin:
What's the situation?
After starring in the movie Syriana, a film about "the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it," Clooney was inspired to take on the lessons he learned in the movie and became involved with the launch of Oil Change, a campaign "to eliminate America’s dependence on foreign oil." Talking about why he was involved he quite rightly replied:
If you’re doing a movie about oil consumption and corruption, you can’t just talk the talk - You gotta walk the walk.
But aside from educating Americans about the oil industry, Clooney is also helping save lives in Sudan. North and South Sudan are war-torn, gripped by a civil war for the last 21 years. The war has claimed over 2 million lives, seen people tortured, raped, enslaved and sold, and at the heart of the conflicts is the control of oil. Sudan is the seventh biggest oil producer in Africa, and with oil production has come huge corruption in the government. Many of the atrocities in Sudan go unreported in the media, however now thanks to Clooney the situation is all becoming much clearer.
What is George Clooney doing to help?
Unable to sit on his laurels, Clooney decided that the situation in Sudan, which had been largely ignored in the media needed to be addressed, and being that Clooney is constantly under the scrutiny of camera, his idea was a surprisingly simple one. In 2010 Clooney (along with activist and Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast) established the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) together with DigitalGlobe and the Enough Project. The project uses satellite surveillance to monitor potential human rights abuses in Sudan. Speaking about the project Clooney said:
We went to DigitalGlobal and asked why, if you can Google Earth my house, can’t we do that to war criminals too? In the last few months we’ve been able to get photographs of mass graves and observe the bombing of civilians.
While it may seem that simply photographing Sudan isn't much of a help at all, SSP is actually proving to be a life saver. First of all keeping these military groups under surveillance means that evidence is being gathered against Sudanese leaders for any future war crimes tribunals. In addition to that, the images from SSP are of such high resolution they can also be used to monitor claims of massacres and mass graves.
However it was In September 2011 that SSP showed what a huge impact they could have. After gathering evidence that there was about to be an enormous attack on the town of Kurmuk in North Sudan, SSP was able to issue a warning that effectively saved many, many lives as it gave innocent civilians the opportunity to flee.
So how does he manage to fund this?
So he's busy establishing projects that could save the lives of many, but how exactly does George Clooney bankroll it? Through Nespresso, of course!
There's no doubt you've seen an ad of Clooney hawking the famous coffee-pods, but it turns out he doesn't make the ads to buy a new house, car or yacht. Instead the money made from being the face of Nespresso keeps the images rolling in from his satellites over North and South Sudan. Speaking to Real Leaders, Clooney said:
Most of the money I make on the Nespresso commercials I spend keeping a satellite over the border of North and South Sudan to keep an eye on Omar al-Bashir (the Sudanese dictator charged with war crimes at The Hague).
And as it turns out the dictator didn't exactly like getting a taste of what the star calls his "anti-genocide paparazzi," saying:
Then he [Omar al-Bashir] puts out a statement saying that I’m spying on him and how would I like it if a camera was following me everywhere I went and I go ‘well welcome to my life Mr. War Criminal.'
For close to five years near the SSP has been making real changes, and helping prevent Northern and Southern Sudan from returning to full-scale civil war. While many celebrities give generously to various causes and charities, I find it truly interesting Clooney found this cause - something which was in such dire need of attention, and not only dedicated funds to doing something, but actually had his own idea that he established a project around. A project which is now saving thousands, if not millions of lives.
George Clooney has without a doubt proved himself to be so much more than just the Sexiest Man Alive, and perhaps he just might be the most Batman-like actor to have ever worn that famous suit.