Friday, December 15, 2006

Clooney Hero for the 21st Century

I wrote last April about father and son Nick and George Clooney going to Darfur with camera crew to see the devastation caused by internal genocide. I called them heroes because they put their lives on the line literally, in order to try to make a difference in the lives of millions of Africans they never met, but whom they considered their brothers and sisters.

In a political season highly fraught with the rambling rationalizations of so many non-heroes who have access to public mouthpieces because they have been put in positions of power by the American electorate, it is a breath of integrity and meaning to see Clooney shine once again as a true champion of courage.

George Clooney lives the good life even beyond the imagination of the average person. Not only is he rich, attractive, charming, and young; he is a creative talent whose ideas and performances in front of and behind the camera pay of successfully both critically and financially. Inspired by his father, Nick, a former TV anchorman and humanitarian, George has followed a calling to use his tremendous celebrity punch to bring awareness to one of the biggest human disasters on the planet—the displacement of 2.5 million people from their homes in Darfur, Sudan, because of militia combat in an ethnic war which has already killed at least 200,000 innocent civilians.

This time Clooney took a group and traveled to China and Egypt, the former because they have a major tie with the Sudan government, and the latter because it is the northern neighbor. Today, Clooney meets with Un Secretary-General Kofi Annan to brief him on the team’s efforts. The most that anyone could do as a non-government private citizen, George Clooney has done.

One need not pass judgment on anyone who doesn’t follow Clooney’s example to note his positive huge selfless acts and influence for the better. It does give one pause to think of all the things this man could be doing with his time and money—leisure things that we would all enjoy doing—but instead he has chosen to take big risks to help his fellow humans. Of all the inspirational heroes I’ve ever heard of, and many people who don’t deserve the epithet who are called it anyway, Clooney is one of the most striking.

Yes there are unsung heroes in our midst who go unrecognized and certainly without fanfare who bring aid and comfort all the time to their fellow man. The reason Clooney stands out for me is because of the example he sets, as well as the enormous numbers of people whose actual lives may be saved by his work. For the unknown heroes among us, and for the giant footprint of George Clooney—thank you for the hope and faith you renew in all of us for the spirit of humanity.

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