9 – Not On Our Watch – Don Cheadle and John Prendergast. A book, and I know this will surprise you, about Darfur and activism, written by two of the most notable and active members of the movement. Don Cheadle you should all know. Actor in Boogie Nights, the Oceans movies, and Hotel Rwanda. Prendergast has worked in the White House, Congress, and UN with a focus on African issues and now works with several NGOs that are attempting to end the genocide in Darfur as well as near genocides in Somalia, Uganda, and Congo. They’ve been working together for several years to bring attention to the situation in Darfur. In fact, it was Cheadle who connected his pal George Clooney, who has got far more publicity for his actions for the cause, with the issue.
The book is combination overview of the what’s going on in Darfur, a discussion of what’s being done to change matters, and how Cheadle and Prendergast got involved and what they’ve done. We learn a lot about how Cheadle got connected with the cause, largely because of his role in Hotel Rwanda, and how he transitioned from an interested but slightly reluctant activist into a leader. It’s also a call for people to get involved and provides a blueprint for how people can take action and what governments should do to make a difference.
I’ll highly recommend it, and leave it as the only book in this entry, as part of my effort to spread the word. Part of the proceeds go to the Enough campaign, which is linked over on the right side of this page. The lesson, as I’ve said before, is that regular people can get involved and make a difference. Regular people create political pressure, which results in politicians who otherwise talk a good game actually taking action.