NOT ON OUR WATCH - by Marcia Moody

George, Brad, Don and Matt on what we can do to stop the growing humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle are four of the brightest stars in the showbiz galaxy, and, before the evening kicked off, they sat down with OK! for an exclusive interview.

Reminiscent of old Hollywood movie stars with their Brylcreem hair, sharp suits and impeccable manners, it was quite a treat to be flanked by such gorgeous gents who also know how to treat a lady. However, this new guard are not content to simply put up their Gucci-clad feet and push on through till dawn fuelled by whiskey sours Ė although it has been reported they do enjoy a tipple. They are also striving to use their fame and influence to help some of the people who need it most around the world, and were in Cannes to raise funds and awareness for their cause.

After some initial tomfoolery Ė Matt is quick to tease us about our Ďold-schoolí tape-recorder before George, concerned it wonít pick up what theyíre saying above the swing music, speaks slowly and clearly into it: ĎItís great to be here,í he says, before passing it to Brad who adds: ĎThank you for comingí Ė they settle down with their drinks while Brad reaches for the bowl of almonds. If you want the gossip on their women, then itís all over the news stands, but if you want to find out what else these guys are really passionate about, then read on..

Why did you decide to set up this particular charity?

Don: Because with Darfur weíre in the midst of the 21st centuryís first genocide (the mass murder of a racial, political or cultural group) and there doesnít seem to be anything happening.

Brad: And it should be considered unacceptable.

George: When people actually read about this, they think, this is wrong, but then after a week it loses momentum, itís like itís gone Ė out of sight out of mind. Weíre trying to get whatís happening to stay on top of the radar.

Don: It reaches the level and weíve already seen this happen in the States but not so much internationally yet Ė people saying, why are we letting this happen?

Matt: Don co-wrote a book called Not On Our watch which is on the New York Times bestsellers list, so it shows there is an interest there. I feel like people are looking for guidance.

Don: Thereís a lot of threatening to threaten and not enough action. We want to raise awareness of whatís going on in Darfur. Itís important that people know whatís going on over there. Iím going to tell you what is happening there at the moment. People are throwing babies on the bonfires, tearing babies out of their motherís arms and then beating the mothers with their own babies until the babies are dead. These are the things that are happening.

George: We need to raise money to give directly to these people. The people on the ground need the money right now. Theyíre being forced to live on 400* calories a day because there arenít the resources to keep them alive. So yes its about the publicity and talking about it and getting people involved, but itís also about raising money, like tonight. The people need this money or they will die. Period. (* Average recommended daily amount is 1500 for women and 2000 for men.)

Matt: I think it would be wrong if we were here and we didnít do anything about it. Weíre all in the public eye so we should use it to bring attention to certain issues. Bradís been doing this for a while.

Brad: Well, itís like how did it get to the point where this is able to go on? If it was on our doorstep would we do more then? It seems so far away because itís overseas but itís our problem too. If this was happening in the US or in the UK it would be a different matter. We need to be asking, why are we letting this happen? We need to get our leaders involved.

Have you all visited these places that are in need of help?

Matt: All four of us have independently visited a region in the past year. George and Don have been to Darfur, and Brad and I have been on the ground but to other places in Africa.

George: If you see it first-hand then thatís whatís going to make you want to do everything you possibly can.

Don: George and I also went to China and Egypt last year. Egypt has defended Sudanís decision to keep out UN peace-keeping troops, and China has also been protecting the Sudanese government.

George: Their defense for not doing anything is to say itís not genocide itís a civil war, and they donít want to lose the economic edge.

Don: Chinaís slogan for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 is ĎOne world, one dreamí but itís more like one world, one nightmare.

What can people do?

Don: Campaign. In the UK you can write to the government, in the States we can write to the White House. I always say to people: ĎAre you active in the community? Are you active in church? Are you active in school?í We all have power. We need to hold our leadersí feet to the fire. This is a crucial time and we need to demand their attention. Mia Farrow wrote a letter last year calling Steven Spielberg on the fact heís the artistic advisor to China for the Olympic Games. She basically said ĎI donít know if youíre aware of this but you could end up being the Leni Riefenstahl (a Nazi propagandist) of the Being Games.í Days later Steven Spielberg wrote to the president of China condemning the killings and asking the Chinese government to use its power to bring an end to whatís going on. Next thing, a senior Chinese official traveled to Sudan to put pressure on the Sudanese government.

Matt: And that didnít come from someone donating 50 million UKP, that came from one person writing one letter and thatís the kind of activism weíre looking for around the world.

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