Angelina Jolie Pens Powerful Essay About Her Experience With Syrian Refugees

Angelina Jolie continues to use her star power to try and speak out for those whose voices are not heard.

Jolie, a longtime special envoy for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has in recent years traveled many times to visited Syrian refugees, including survivors of ISIS attacks. She writes about her experiences and latest thoughts on the refugees’ plight in an essay for Time magazine, published on Thursday.

“A few months into the Syrian conflict in 2011, I visited the Jordanian border at night, where shell-shocked Syrian families were crossing under cover of darkness to avoid sniper fire,” Jolie wrote. “A medic at the border post told me about a family who’d recently arrived. They carried with them their wounded 8-year-old son and his amputated leg. His leg had been severed in an airstrike. He’d begged them to bring it with them as they fled, in the hope that it could somehow be reattached.”

“At the time, I hoped that stories like his might force the world’s rich and mighty countries to intervene to stop the violence,” she continued. “But now, nearly a decade later, it strikes me as a metaphor for the Syrian conflict itself: the shattered innocence of a generation of children; the irreversible damage inflicted upon a secular, multiethnic society; and the years of pleas for help that have gone unanswered.”

Jolie pleaded for intervention from the United States to help the refugees, adding, “When did we stop wanting to stand up for the underdog, for the innocent, for those fighting for their human rights? And what kind of country would we be if we abandoned that principle? There is a lot of focus in America today on self-preservation.”

“We’re watching the brutal endgame of the war in Syria as if it has little to do with us. But it does,” she wrote. “We should be using our diplomatic power to insist on a cease-fire and a negotiated peace based on at least some measure of political participation, accountability and the conditions for the safe return of refugees.”

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