My friend Kirsten Westby used to work in a refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and when the children in the camp would find out she was an American, they would rush to ask her if she knew a lady named Angelina. Kirsten would respond no and the kids would proceed to tell her how a beautiful American woman named Angelina would come and visit them and give them presents. They would rush to show Kirsten the gifts that Angelina brought them and regale her with stories of Angelina’s visit. Finally, Kirsten asked other aid workers who this Angelina person was only to find out the children were talking about Angelina Jolie!
This story endeared Goddess Angelina to me for life. Yes, she is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR. Yes, she is a famous actress. Yes, she travels the world increasing the awareness of human rights issues around the world. Yes, she donates a lot of time and money. Yes, she has adopted a number of orphans from distressed communities. Yes, Angelina Jolie is deserving of the title ‘Living Goddess’ like no other.
I have never understood how famous and wealthy people seem to care only about amassing more wealth, fame and power. For what end? Personal gratification, I suppose. They don’t seem to do anything else with their money and power. They do not help people in a world where a million dollars could feed dozens of nations. Instead they buy new houses, they buy yachts, they spend thousands of dollars on a dress or pair of designer shoes. In a world where micro-credit loans of $20 can change the lives of entire villages and where there is a food surplus yet every day hundreds of people starve to death, I find it amazing that people with so much are so unwilling to share. Yet, people with nothing will happily give you the shirt off their back if you need it. Such is the modern irony, and I get a real warm feeling in my heart when I think about Angelina Jolie as a celebrity who really and truly cares about the world and her place in it.
Even better, Goddess Angelina has inspired a whole slew of celebrities who are now beginning to make meaningful movies with political and human rights messages, and in turn those celebrities are becoming spokespeople for issues like blood diamonds, hunger, and HIV/AIDS awareness. Goddess Angelina’s very humble stance towards all that she has been doing for the championing of human rights worldwide has served as a celebrity conscience. At first, the tabloids and other stars were very disparaging about her quest but little by little more and more famous people are beginning to take stands against the injustices in the world and using their fame as a launching point.
Goddesses are people who inspire us to be better human beings, to create, to love, to inspire others in turn. Angelina Jolie is one of the few living goddesses in this world and I have no doubt that her wonderful work will indeed change the face of fame worldwide. Soon, famous people will be judged not only for their talent and good looks, but rather on how much they are giving back to their communities and to the world as a whole. Goddess Angelina is among the pioneers of a celebrity movement that has the potential to make such huge and meaningful changes in the world.
Now if only the rest of the self-absorbed celebs could tear their gazes away from themselves for even a moment to ease the suffering of their brothers and sisters worldwide. This is one of my prayers.