'These are people that have been truly, you know, they have been captured and they have been sold,' the actor said when referring to the South Sudanese who want independence.
George Clooney was struck by the "resolve" of the Southern Sudanese people in their fight for independence after visiting the troubled region earlier this month. The Hollywood actor-turned-activist traveled to Sudan as part of his campaign to raise awareness of a potential conflict in the divided African country, amid rising tensions and fears of a north-south war.
And the Oscar-winner admits he was inspired by the spirit of the Southern Sudanese people, who were determined to "fight and die" for the freedom to cast their vote. Clooney tells U.S. broadcaster Larry King, "What struck us the most, struck me the most, was their resolve..."
"Look, these are people that have been truly, you know, they have been captured and they have been sold. And they have been tortured, and they have been raped and murdered. And they believe they have a right for independence now, and that the international community agreed to it. They believe they're going to have that independence starting on the 9th of January."
"And to a man, to a person, every single one of them said they're willing to fight and die for that freedom. And that was the strongest thing we saw... They're like everybody else. They want to raise their children in peace. They want to have a job. They want to go to work. Exactly like everyone else."
"Many of them have only known war. And that's a very tough life... They have been through it, through the ringer. And they're really looking to this as a great moment... There are certainly people that are hardened. But, boy, there's some amazingly, just beautifully kind people."
The Southern Sudanese will vote for independence in January.