Thomas C. Mountain
October 6, 2011.
For the past decade Hollywood movie star Angelina Jolie has been an official “Goodwill Ambassador” for the United Nations Humanitarian Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and has been so overflowing with goodwill that two years ago she called for the USA to declare war and bomb Sudan.
The last few days have seen Ms. Jolie crying crocodile tears for the victims in Somalia of the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in decades. Somehow she failed to mention that her colleagues at the UNHCR had just a few months ago cut the food rations they were supplying to some one million Somali refugees to just 30% of the daily minimum needed to survive.
This was necessary, they explained at the time, due to a “funding shortfall”. A “funding shortfall” which it turns out was not much more than what Ms. Jolie is paid for just one of her Hollywood films.
Apparently “goodwill” doesn't stretch far enough to include donating what Angelina Jolie makes in just one her many films to keep hundreds of thousands of Somali children from slow starvation.
While announcing that three quarters of a million people were starving to death in Somalia she neglected to mention that just across the border in south east Ethiopia, the Ogaden, another UN agency, the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) had just a few months ago reported that millions of Ethiopians were in the throes of starvation. These Ethiopians are Somalis too, for every major clan and even sub-clan found in Somalia proper is found in the Ogaden as well. Maybe Ms. Jolie didn’t want to embarrass Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who was reported to have personally welcomed Angelina Jolie to Ethiopia when she arrived there to buy/adopt ($30,000 “donation”?) her Ethiopian baby daughter a few years ago.
Not only are millions of Somalis in Ethiopia starving but now it is reported that cholera has broken out in the Ogaden as well. With both the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders having been expelled from the Ogaden by Mele Zenawi for four years now it is going to be difficult if not impossible to fight this deadly but very treatable disease.
Angelina Jolie has been one hell of a “goodwill ambassador” for the UN in Africa. You know, demand the USA declare war and bomb Sudan and then turn a blind eye to starvation and disease in Ethiopia. All the while your colleagues in the UNHCR oversee the “humanitarian” slow starvation of a million refugees next door in Somalia and Kenya.
Yessirree, Angelina Jolie has certainly turned out to be a Hollyweird “Goodwill Ambassador” to Africa. With her track record one can only fear what she has in store for the rest of the world.
Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at yahoo dot com.
Comment: Why do we even listen to the likes of Jolie, Madonna, Bono, Geldof, among others?
These folks voyeur through the lives of the oppressed and set themselves up as the voice of concern and caring. In real terms they are neither. They just selling sh*t.
Gramsci would say that Jolie offers the elite the space to say 'but we do care and our systems are open to challenges that will bring improvement'.
And as one "We are the World" moment turns to another the rot continues and the faces dying are not those of Jolie and company.
This morning I watched Bono talk smack at a birthday party for Archbishop Tutu and it made me realize that this is the one thing I absolutely dislike about the Arch's politics - his penchant for surrounding himself with empty wannabe revolutionaries like Bono.
What has Bono achieved since he became the self-appointed saviour of Africans?
It is all a PR campaign where rich elites sit around congratulating other elites as they sell their "commonsense".
As long as we expect change to come from the systems that dominate us there will be none.
In the US there are scores of people pressing an "Occupy" this and that movement and it is hard not to be sympathetic.
But even as I watch them "Occupy" I wonder what their movement is all about. Is it even a movement?
What is their agenda? Who are their leaders? Is this a real movement or the usual empty American showboating filled with delusional hope that the system has some conscious flexibility to give them jobs.
The irony of occupying Wall Street is that those planes that flew into the World Trade Center sought to bring down the very system these occupying patriots blame for their misery.
And even though it may be hard to find one "Occupy" protester who will see those planes as a revolutionary strike they will nonetheless be able to tell you how the rich one percent run their lives.
And though you may want to listen what you will not hear is how their "Occupy" protest is a movement meant to show solidarity with those the US has killed and is killing across the seas.
Today I read that Naomi Klein says that the protesters have lost faith in the electoral system. They see that their votes do not count and that the system has never been about them.
No sh*t Sherlock !!!
And why has it taken so long for these folks to see that putting that sell-out b*tch into the crack house was not a revolution?
What is needed is a real revolution. They need not only "occupy" the streets but occupy democracy.
The US is a farce. An act of original theft. If there was even an ounce of consciousness in the "Occupy" protests it would start at the beginning.
That beginning has everything to do with recognizing that the Native peoples were defrauded and murdered so that Wall Street could stand.
Movements for socio-political justice cannot be ahistorical. A revolution must be historical if it is to be dialectical.
You holding your breath?
Those unemployed protestors will soon tire of their contrived occupation and empty politics. Right now they just need the government to give them some respite.
And we are not free.