One more question for Forest Whitaker: Why bring attention to South Sudan?

One More Question

The Heat’s Anand Naidoo interviewed actor, producer, and director Forest Whitaker about why his is vocal about the civil war taking place in the South Sudan. The Academy-Award-winning actor who is also the CEO of Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative said that he supports aid to South Sudan because there is little knowledge about the situation on the ground. The civil war has displaced tens of thousands of people and the region has also been impacted by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

“It’s difficult because I think there’s a lot of conflicts and crisis that going on around the world, and I don’t want to try to say this area needs more attention than that one. But certainly within the African continent, there’s a lot of conflict that is going on in different areas and people tend to lump that all together into one, as if it were one country as opposed to one continent with more countries inside of it than any continent in the world — and with the conflicts being quite different in all the different regions,” Whitaker said.

“I think as a result of that lumping, we’ve found in the West that there have not been enough specific stories being brought out so that people can understand them, and respond to them, because the things that are occurring there do affect us. And until we really understand them, I don’t think people can take a stance on trying to help move them forward towards peace.”

Naidoo also asked him what more the international community can do to help solve the crisis.

“I think they have to not give up hope. I’ve had a lot of different meetings there with the cabinet and ambassadors from diff countries and I know there’s a frustration because everyone sees that this is a manmade war that is not necessary. But what we have to do is not lose our focus on making sure that we move the country towards peace and during that process there has to be humanitarian aid to a lot of the different people in the country who are suffering because of the conflict and the crisis. So we can’t lose sight of that… and also recognize that from that humanitarian aid, that there are pieces of development that are moving the country forward, so that the efforts to help move people out of this painful situation also is moving them into hopefully a better situation for the future,” Whitaker said.

“So that would be my plea to the community. Is to continue to support what’s going on, to continue to support peace process, to put pressure on those individuals who are negotiating for peace, to make sure they actually come to the table, and actually try to find a solution to what’s going on. The international community has to do that in order to find some resolution in order for the country itself to continue on a path towards peace.”