What a week it’s been for George Clooney and his efforts to draw awareness to the plight of the Sudanese people.
After returning from a covert trip to the war-torn region last week, a dangerous undertaking in itself, Clooney then showed new footage and dramatically recounted what he had seen in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also has had meetings with both President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and nearly every major news outlet.
As he said years ago, the 50-year-old is committed to using the fame he’s earned to leverage a better world for people suffering under oppressive and violent regimes. The fact that Clooney has visited the Sudan before, each time using his celebrity to shed a bit more light on the atrocities happening there, has been noticed by big media, but rarely made a dent in the world of social media.
That changed today. Something as benign as getting arrested on the steps of the Sudanese Embassy for “crossing a police line” has sparked a massive outpouring of support for the actor on social media. Currently trending on and off on twitter are the following:
It’s even more impressive to see those terms on a day consumed by new of Apple’s new iPad, March Madness, and the continuing saga of who Peyton Manning will Quarterback for next. Scratch that – it’s down right positive. It’s the other flip of the social media coin – the one that tunes out the vapid noise and works to incite serious awareness and change.
Now, the situation in the Sudan, particularly along the contentious border regions with South Sudan, will not change overnight as a result of Clooney’s media blitz. But it’s encouraging to think that the Twitter world today went from not a single clue about Sudan to something of an inkling. That’s huge. It’s a tiny opening of awareness from a door that George has been pushing against for years. Get the public involved – and politicians will be quicker to act. The media will pay attention. And the Sudanese people will hear that they’re not alone.
That fame card is a powerful thing. Punch it right and it will change the world. Thanks, George.