Each chapter illustrates how the impoverished rhetoric of celebrities often privileges the voices of those in the Global North over the efforts of local NGOs who have been working for years at addressing the same humanitarian crises. Whether we are talking about the building of schools for young women in Afghanistan or the satellite surveillance of potential genocidal acts carried out in the Sudan, various forms of celebrity advocacy resonate with scholars and members of the public who want to be seen «doing something.»
The author argues that more often than not, celebrity advocacy enhances a celebrity's reputation – but hinders the efforts of those who ask us to pay attention to the historical, structural, and material causes of these humanitarian crises.
Chapter 8. “Not on Our Watch”: George Clooney’s Celebrity Activism in the Sudan and Neoliberal Calls of Genocide Prevention
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“NOT ON OUR WATCH”: GEORGE CLOONEY’S CELEBRITY ACTIVISM IN THE SUDAN AND NEOLIBERAL CALLS FOR PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE
As the story goes, during the fall of 2010 a popular Hollywood actor, George Clooney, came up with a plan that would help with the visual evidence of atrocities allegedly being committed thousands of miles away in Sudan. By this time, Clooney had already gained the reputation of being a liberal activist who used his celebrity status to help raise consciousness about conditions in regions like Darfur,1 but during several interviews he expressed frustration that few of his efforts had led to any noticeable reduction in the violence perpetrated in the places that he was talking about.
In order to rectify this situation, Clooney teamed up with John Prendergast and began brainstorming about how to become involved in more efficacious interventionism. Clooney decided that he wanted to begin collecting funds for a project that might actually make a difference in this world, and he started to talk with other celebrities and knowledgeable activists about how satellite images could be used to document potential war crimes violations. This was the origination tale for what would be called the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP).
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