Debuting in a blog post today by Nick Kristof of The New York Times, a new video co-produced by Sudan Now and Not On Our Watch captures the precariousness of the present moment in Sudan, as the country prepares for a historic vote expected to split it in two. The video gets further mileage out of actor George Clooney’s recent trip to the South, where he met with people living in communities in the volatile border region.
In his post today, Kristof highlighted some of the issues that could be explosive in Sudan, even if large-scale civil war doesn’t break out:
Aside from the risks of a deliberate war and seizure by the North of the South’s oil wells, there is a risk of an accidental war provoked in the disputed territory of Abyei. There are risks of conflict in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile areas, where many people want to be in the South but will find themselves in the North. There are risks of tribal conflicts along the border and in the south that could trigger a larger war. Distrust is enormous.
Some have faulted Clooney’s advocacy approach, accusing him of being sensationalist. But as he told the "Today” show in one of his first interviews post-trip, Secretary Clinton, the former director of national intelligence, and President Obama have all warned that Sudan is at-risk of becoming the world’s bloodiest conflicts. “I’m just trying to say it as loud as possible,” he said.
With Clooney’s help, Enough and other advocacy groups in the Sudan Now campaign are calling on the United States to use its influence to pressure the parties into holding a peaceful referendum and negotiating post-referendum arrangements.
“We were late to the Congo. We were late to Rwanda. We were late to Darfur,” Clooney says in the video. “We felt like this was a chance to be able to finally stop a war before it starts.”