Wednesday 1 September 2010

"Keep the spotlight burning..."

I was struck by George Clooney‘s speech at Sunday’s Emmys awards which I watched online because - let's face it - for people living here in AUS it was broadcast live during the middle of our Monday morning!

There is a lot wrong with TV these days, but Clooney has definitely done something right, and in a sustained manner.  He has used the power of television to raise money where it is needed most. 

George helped shape a good portion of the world's awareness – though it's still way too low – of the genocide in Darfur.  He also created "Not On Our Watch" with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub, and had jumped in with his fame muscle power to initiate "America: A Tribute to Heroes in the wake of 9/11."  He then put together "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope in 2005" and "A Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast" following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and most recently, the "Hope For Haiti Now" telethon. 

That was enough to be chosen as only the fourth recipient of a Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, which they intiated way back in 2002.

When accepting this award on Sunday night to a standing ovation, George was fairly brief - and included some irreverent bits, of course - but yet was also inspiring…just like the man himself.  Here's the essence of what he said:

“It’s important to remember how much good can get done because we live in such strange times where bad behaviors suck up all the attention in the press and the people who really need the spotlight, the Haitians, the Sudanese, the people in the Gulf Coast… Pakistan, they can’t get any [press].

When the disaster happens, everybody wants to help, everybody in this room wants to help, everybody at home wants to help. The hard part is seven months later, five years later, when we’re on to a new story…honestly, we fail at that, most of the time. That’s the facts.

I fail at that.

So here’s hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That would be an impressive accomplishment. Thank you.”

Profound challenge.   Take a listen for yourself.   -Clair 

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