April 23, 2016

George Clooney says fights the 'suffocation' of fame by trying to highlight global injustice

George Clooney says he tries to combat the “suffocation” of his fame by trying to highlight global injustice. Speaking at an international forum on genocide prevention and the refugee crisis held in Armenia, the actor said he had decided to use his fame to focus attention on those “who can’t get any cameras on them at all” after reading about atrocities being committed in the Darfur region in the early 2000s.

Independent. - George Clooney says he tries to combat the “suffocation” of his fame by trying to highlight global injustice.

Speaking at an international forum on genocide prevention and the refugee crisis held in Armenia, the actor said he had decided to use his fame to focus attention on those “who can’t get any cameras on them at all” after reading about atrocities being committed in the Darfur region in the early 2000s.

The Oscar-winner said: "Fame has an interesting element to it but if you tend to be followed round by a camera then you can feel suffocated at times.

"I thought it might be effective if I went to those places and got those cameras to follow me and try and amplify these stories of NGOs who were doing such hard work, such dangerous work."

Clooney co-founded an international relief charity called Not On Our Watch with fellow actors Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon in 2008 to campaign for human rights around the world.

The star said he felt fortunate to have been born in the United States.

"I was lucky to be born where I was and not born as a young woman who was taken by Boko Haram. It was lucky - luck is genetic and time and place," he added.

"That luck needs to be spread. What I find beautiful about what we're doing this weekend is we're looking at it, we're pointing at it, we're amplifying it. There is an awful lot the world needs, not a handout but a hand-up."

The forum is being held to mark the 101th anniversary of the beginning of a genocide of the Armenian people by the ruling Ottoman Empire.

Armenia says up 1.5m people were murdered and hundreds of thousands more were forced to flee the country as refugees - a figure accepted by most modern historians.

Turkey denies the killings were a genocide and puts the death toll at around 300,000.

Clooney’s wife Amal, an international human rights lawyer, has previously campaigned for the the international recognition of the Armenian genocide - the actor joked he is better know in the country as “Amal’s husband”.

He said the 24-hour news cycle was to blame for desensitising people towards genocide but still praised news organisations’ coverage of the death of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose body washed up on a Turkish beach provoking an outpouring of sympathy towards refugees.

During his visit Clooney will also present the inaugural US $100,000 (£70,000) Aurora Prize For Inspiring Humanity at a ceremony celebrating individuals who risk their lives for others on Sunday evening.

The winner of the grant will also have an opportunity to nominate an organisation for a $1 million (£700,000) prize.

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