In testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee George Clooney has urged the United States to stop Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, government official Ahmad Harun, and defence minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, from persisting in their ongoing slaughter in the Nuba mountains. We need not doubt George’s sincerity and we need not doubt that he genuinely believes those three to be the “greatest war criminals of this century by far“. Moreover, we can throw academic caution to the wind when it comes to saying that mass atrocities are taking place, in the area known also as South Kordofan, as Khartoum attempts to ethnically cleanse the area of its African population.
Furthermore, Mr Clooney’s asking the US to work with the Chinese, who have major oil links with Sudan, is a strategy which is to be most welcomed and, if it were to be realised, this particular genocide might be halted. Nevertheless, when we realise that working together might mean that the Chinese will have to accept, at least temporarily, a blockade of the Port of Sudan we can begin to understand that any effort by Washington to help the Nubian people will hardly be because of altruistic reasons. Something that is further substantiated by the fact that while George might view Omar al-Bashir, Ahmad Harun and Abedelrahim Mohamed Hussein, as being the “greatest war criminals of this century by far“, his own government is not averse to working with their “own” war criminals.
Nevertheless, if Mr Clooney’s speaking in front of the Senate committee does lead to Washington and Beijing working together to stop this genocide and, if it leads to the United States and China recognising each others interests and to them cooperating instead of competing in order to protect those interests, the actor Mr Clooney’s involvement in politics might be welcomed. However, only if the people of Africa as a whole also benefit from such a cooperation and it is here that we have a problem. The United States has never really cared much about the African people and, with China’s ongoing cooperation with Omar al-Bashir, Robert Mugabe, Joseph Kabila, and others, the evidence would at least indicate, that they too are in Africa for reasons that could hardly be described as altruistic. It seems that the African people are caught between a rock and a hard stone but on one thing Mr Clooney is 100% right, the crimes against the Nubian people must be halted now.