Opinion and Editorial

Jolie spills the beans

Filed on October 10, 2010

It is said a friend in need is a friend indeed. Similarly, friendly advices are often hard to come, as people prefer to play to the gallery or try to avoid an embarrassing situation by calling a spade a spade.

Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie, however, was categorical and realistic to the core when she made a candid observation on her visit to flood-ravaged Pakistan. Jolie, who raised funds for the deluged Pakistanis, said that she was not happy with her visit as she felt that authorities concerned were more interested in photo ops with dignitaries and are less or least bothered about the impending human tragedy at hand. This demands genuine courage to say it so many words. And Jolie did that right away.

In her report to the United Nations, Jolie who is also UNHCR’s goodwill ambassador and has been to flashpoints across the world, recommended the UN to ask Pakistani government to cut down on their luxurious expenses before asking for aid from the world at large. What compelled her to say it in no small words is anybody’s guess. But she has inevitably made a point. The dual-standards at work in Pakistan, and for that matter in any developing country, when it comes to addressing pressing issues of humanitarian aid, is no rocket science to observe and interpret. Moreover, governments profess of austerity measures and at the same time indulge in extravaganzas at the cost of taxpayers’ money. Jolie says she was perturbed to see that no less than the prime minister’s family was interested in dining with her in fanfare and bonanza, and had the audacity of doling out expensive gifts. No doubt, Jolie is a celebrity but she was in Pakistan at a time of national tragedy, and that too to offer a helping hand. It is quite natural that she was disturbed to see dichotomy at work in the corridors of power. And that too at a time when the incumbent political dispensation is in the range of fire on alleged charges of corruption and mis-governance. She is right in saying that charity begins at home. One can only hope Jolie’s advice and regrettable feelings would spur some introspection.

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