Actress and director Angelina Jolie has penned a new op-ed for the New York Times, calling for funding and a humanitarian response to the refugees of civil war in Syria and Iraq.
The mother of six traveled to Khanke, Iraq on an envoy with the United Nations Refugee Agency, and documented the horrific living conditions families and survivors are living under.
“These refugees and displaced people have witnessed unspeakable brutality. Their children are out of school, they are struggling to survive, and they are surrounded on all sides by violence,” Jolie writes.
“For many years I have visited camps, and every time, I sit in a tent and hear stories. I try my best to give support. To say something that will show solidarity and give some kind of thoughtful guidance. On this trip I was speechless,” she continued.
“What do you say to a mother with tears streaming down her face who says her daughter is in the hands of the Islamic State, or ISIS, and that she wishes she were there, too? Even if she had to be raped and tortured, she says, it would be better than not being with her daughter.”
Jolie has been a champion of refugees on behalf of the United Nations since 2001, promoted in 2012 to Special Envoy to the High Commissioner of the UNHCR.
“Stories of terror, barrel bombs and massacres have acquired an awful familiarity. There is a great temptation to turn inward, to focus on our own troubles. But the plain fact is we cannot insulate ourselves against this crisis,” said the Oscar-winning actress.
“At stake are not only the lives of millions of people and the future of the Middle East, but also the credibility of the international system. What does it say about our commitment to human rights and accountability that we seem to tolerate crimes against humanity happening in Syria and Iraq on a daily basis?”
After her humanitarian visit, Jolie will presumably head back to Hollywood. Her second directorial effort, Universal’s “Unbroken,” has been nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins.