Griffs Notes 2/28/07

Finally, Hollywood is offering someone worth being taken seriously – and added to the A-list of foreign policy wonks at the Council on Foreign Relations: Angelina Jolie.

In full disclosure, I am a fan of Lara Croft. But more than that, I think for someone who has taken her Oscar-winning fame and translated it into becoming a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, she is to be commended and offered a seat at the world stage table. She has earned her bona fides by doing much more than waxing philosophically poolside in Los Angeles. She has traveled the world extensively – to some of the most troubled areas in the world. And if you thought she wasn’t genuine and earnest enough, just take a look at her children from Cambodia and Ethiopia that she has adopted from orphanages. Her most recent child, Zakaria, was orphaned by AIDS, and will now grow up with a loving mother and likely be inclined to give something back to the world someday.

In Jolie’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post today from her trip to the refugee camp Oure Cassoni along the Sudan border, she offers both insight and solutions to what is likely the worst example of senseless genocide in the world today. She addressed perhaps the most accurate criticism of past international efforts – lack of action. She writes:

As the prosecutions unfold, I hope the international community will intervene, right away, to protect the people of Darfur and prevent further violence. The refugees don't need more resolutions or statements of concern. They need follow-through on past promises of action.

There has been a groundswell of public support for action. People may disagree on how to intervene -- airstrikes, sending troops, sanctions, divestment -- but we all should agree that the slaughter must be stopped and the perpetrators brought to justice

In my five years with UNHCR, I have visited more than 20 refugee camps in Sierra Leone, Congo, Kosovo and elsewhere. I have met families uprooted by conflict and lobbied governments to help them. Years later, I have found myself at the same camps, hearing the same stories and seeing the same lack of clean water, medicine, security and hope.

It has become clear to me that there will be no enduring peace without justice. History shows that there will be another Darfur, another exodus, in a vicious cycle of bloodshed and retribution. But an international court finally exists. It will be as strong as the support we give it. This might be the moment we stop the cycle of violence and end our tolerance for crimes against humanity.

What the worst people in the world fear most is justice. That's what we should deliver.

So I ask you – Does Angelina Jolie belong amongst Dick Cheney, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger?

You bet. They could use a Tomb Raider to get things done.

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