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George Clooney Is Giving $1 Million to Investigate War Criminals In Africa—But Who Asked?

"If it walks like a 'white savior' and talks like a 'white savior'—it usually is."

Tuxedo in human form, George Clooney, announced today that he will give $1 million towards an investigation into governments and authorities that benefit from continued support of conflict in Africa. He's doing so through his "The Sentry" initiative which the actor launched in 2015 to "end wars" in Africa.


"Our focus is to make sure that war crimes don't pay," said the actor in a statement. "We want to make it more difficult for those willing to kill en masse to secure their political and economic objectives." "When we're able to go after the warlords' wallets and bankrupt those who choose the bullet over the ballot, suddenly the incentives are for peace, not war; transparency, not corruption."

As BBC Africa reports, this is far from the first time that Clooney's inserted himself in African affairs. Clooney along with the likes of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, was part of the bizarre 2012 honey trap scheme to arrest Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony. In 2011, the actor took part in a program that used satellites to monitor the Sudanese-South Sudanese border. He was also one of the most vocal celebrity advocates during the 2006 crisis in Darfur.

His constant involvement in African politics comes across as a fixation with aiding "poor, helpless Africans"—an approach more rooted in self-seeking, white maleness than anything it might purport to be. And since when has male whiteness ever benefited Africa? What proof is there that any of his actions have ever truly payed off? Has he helped end a single war? Did Clooney save Darfur? I'm sure we all remember how "Kony 2012" turned out.

This is not to say that his efforts are completely in vain, it's merely a suggestion that he not regard the continent as a playing field that he can visit whenever he wants to practice being a good samaritan, especially when he lives in a country with an excess of its own political troubles. It's as if for him, fighting social ills within an African context give his efforts more validity, which, once again, plays into the ever-harmful, "Africa as foreground for despair" trope.

As Clooney is all too aware, there are indeed very real issues affecting the continent that deserve our vigorous action and unreserved attention. What he should, perhaps, be more cognizant of is the fact that his efforts come off as if he is relentlessly vying to be the captain of "Team Save Africa," and he cannot humanly fulfill that role, nor is anyone asking him to.

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