When George Clooney was nearly kept by the assembled countries from delivering his message on Darfur Thursday, the United Nations’ recently appointed messenger of peace chose a more receptive audience: the press.
“There are some groups protecting 250 square kilometers of desert with no helicopters and no radios that work,” Clooney, 46, speaking about the crisis in Sudan’s troubled western region and the need to equip the peacekeeping force there, said at a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York.
“So either give them the basic tools for protecting the population [and themselves] or have the decency to just bring them all home,” he said. “And go back into your offices and wait until it’s all over.”
The actor had just returned from a visit last week to Darfur and was met with some representatives at the meeting objecting to an actor telling them how to handle things.
“I am the son of a newsman, so the job of messenger comes with the responsibility to deal with facts, not to tell people what they want to hear, but to tell them what the truth is, unfiltered,” said Clooney, who was accompanied by his parents, Nick and Nina Clooney.
Other messengers of peace are Michael Douglas, Elie Wiesel, Jane Goodall, Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, Paulo Coelho, Midori Goto and Princess Haya of Jordan.
Clooney – along with friend Don Cheadle – also received the Peace Summit Award on Dec. 13 for work for Darfur.