“UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has just been given the floor to address the UNSC on Syria, and used the word “We” when speaking of the UN failures there…”
It seems that several branches of the UN feel that the only way to stress the seriousness of some of the atrocities being committed by world governments is to have a beautiful, carefully dressed celebrity issue the UN Security Council a prepared speech while winking at her rapt audience. Houk calls this a “ridiculous scheme” and notes that Jolie’s speech on Syria was certainly not her own, although it was probably the only way “to explain the UNSC to Angelina Jolie’s fan base.” Pointed and thoughtful comments on the speech included one from Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Al-Jaafari: “She’s beautiful.”
The Daily Mail also stressed the seriousness of the event by noting “The 39-year-old actress and director spoke at the United Nations in New York on Friday dressed in a white blazer, matching skirt and delicate jewelry. She had removed her $250,000 diamond engagement ring to make her speech.” [Embarrassment? Shame? Fear that a brown member of the UNSC would steal it?]
And of course, this tidbit: “Earlier this month, a business associate of Jolie and husband Brad Pitt told The Daily Express that the couple want to adopt a little Syrian girl.” Of course they do. That will solve everything.
Jolie ‘s speech urged the UNSG to end the conflict in Syria: “If we cannot end the conflict, we have an inescapable moral duty to help refugees and provide legal avenues to safety.”
This just wasn’t convenient for her to reiterate in May and June when thousands of Rohingya were being killed and left for dead at sea. And she’d just said it a month before so what’s the sense of repeating herself? Plus, she already went to the Rohingya camps in 2009. Singing the same old humanitarian song would be so . . . unflatteringly redundant.
You gotta love her wiggling right in there and making herself a member of the UNSC. Houk caught it too: “We” = meaning, the UN Security Council + Angelina Jolie?
“It is completely incongruous for UN Goodwill Ambassadors to address the UN Security Council on matters of substance relating to some of the worst and most intractable conflicts in the world,” notes Houk. But, as she points out, how low have we sunk if star status is the only way the UN or any international body will take notice?
More from Angelina's address: “It is sickening to see thousands of refugees drowning on the doorstep of the world’s wealthiest continent. No one risks the lives of their children in this way except out of utter desperation . . . We are standing by, in Syria.”
Oh we are, are we? I want to see Ms Jolie in Syria, standing by. I want to see her in Aceh, in Myanmar, in Malaysia, standing by. I want her to at least be in a panel discussion, using her own thoughts, words and passion for a cause, like Matt Dillon did. But she and her publicists have no time for that. The clock is ticking. As we can see from the photo, Angelina’s It-Girl days are coming to a close so she needs to find a few more crises to dress up for.
I would like to address the UN. I’ve worked with more marginalized groups than Angelina. And it seems that nobody cared enough about the Rohingya to trot her out to wink at the Myanmar Ambassador. Is it my lack of fame? My decidedly un-glamorous hair and not-so-pouty lips? or does this body, as Houk says, “prioritize fund-raising over political [and therefore controversial] work?” Still, the bigger question is: why does it take a celebrity, seeking more celebrity status, to move people, agencies, and governments to take action? Why can’t people, agencies and governments man up and do the right thing all on their own?
I give up.