Kamis, 07 Februari 2008

Angelina Jolie visits Iraq (update: video)

Angelina Jolie was in Iraq today as part of her work as a UN goodwill ambassador. Her job is to bring attention to important causes, and today she was speaking about the plight of internally displaced Iraqi refugees. Angelina noted that there are more than 2 million refugees who are slowly starting to trickle back to their homes and communities during the lull in violence.

"There's lots of goodwill and lots of discussion, but there seems to be just a lot of talk at the moment," Jolie said in excerpts of an interview aired on CNN.

"What happens in Iraq and how Iraq settles in the years to come is going to affect the entire Middle East," she added. "And a big part of what it's going to affect, how it settles, is how these people are returned and settled into their homes and their community and brought back together and whether they can live together and what their communities look like."

[From the Huffington Post]

Angelina also noted that of the 2 million internally displaced people, 58 percent of them are children under the age of twelve. She noted to CNN’s Arwa Damon, “it's a very high number of people in a very, very vulnerable situation and a lot of young kids.” Children are obviously one of Jolie’s biggest passions. Angelina also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq General David Patraeus, and several top Iraqi migration officials. She spent time in the Green Zone and ate lunch with American troops.

When asked why she felt it was important to risk her life by coming to Iraq, Jolie responded:

It was an easy choice to make. I've I felt I had to come here because it is very difficult to get answers about the internally displaced people. It's as I said even U.N.H.C.R. who I traditionally work with -- they are not able to be inside at the moment and so I was very frustrated and just getting a bunch of ideas and papers but not knowing what's really going on, so today I'm able to talk to all different people from our government and their government and really get some answers as to what is holding up the processes to really really assist these people properly.

[From CNN]

Keep in mind that was a transcript from an interview, which is why Angelina’s response isn’t quite so perfectly phrased like you read in People or Us Weekly. I’m always impressed with the long-term devotion Angelina has brought to her UN work. She didn’t just do a trip or two to get some press - she’s been traveling to some dangerous locations for several years now. Brad Pitt is rarely mentioned in her UN-related interviews, so I’ve always wondered if he comes along. I would guess that might be too much of a security risk - just protecting one incredibly famous person has got to take a lot of work. Kudos for Angelina for showing consistent commitment to a cause.

Picture Note by JayBird: Brad and Angelina are shown at the Santa Barbara Film Festival over the weekend, thanks to Splash.

UPDATE: Here's the video, thanks to The Huffington Post for the heads up:

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