There is a Mende proverb told by my tribe in Sierra Leone: "The stranger who tells our stories when we cannot speak not only awakens our spirits and hearts but also shows our humanitywhich others want to forgetand in doing so, becomes family." When George Clooney went to Darfur to raise awareness of the suffering of the people there, he became part of our family.
As someone who was forced to participate in the Sierra Leonean civil war as a child soldier, I know the damage that war causes to human beings. But I also know the resilience of the human spirit; I know that there is always the possibility for recovery. That is something that Clooney clearly sees too. He has used his fame to speak wholeheartedly for those who cannot speak, with genuine concern and insight and a deep commitment and selflessness that is rare but does not have to be.
Clooney, 46, took his familyhis father is veteran television journalist Nick Clooneywith him to Darfur on his first trip there in 2006, and together they made A Journey to Darfur, which aired on the AmericanLife network. The actor returned to the U.S. as a consistent advocate for action in that war-ravaged region, addressing a rally in Washington, lobbying the Senate, speaking before the U.N. Security Council. His celebrity gave him the opportunity to speak. But when he spoke, it was simply as another human being, one with unremitting passion, who could not stand by and watch the genocide in Darfur continue. We need more people like George Clooney and his father, people who are willing to work hard to expose the suffering of our fellow human beings in all parts of the world.
Beah wrote A Long Way Gone
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