Thursday, June 17, 2004

Ask Angelina 

"World Refugee Day: Ask Angelina Jolie", proposes BBC:

"We will be discussing the plight of refugees around the world with UNHCR goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie on our global phone-in programme, Talking Point on Sunday 20 June at 1400 GMT. If you would like to take part in the refugee debate then please include your phone number."
Arguably, questions like "Is it true that you tried to steal Kylie Minogue's boyfriend?" and "Did you really stopped seeing Colin Farrell because he kept exposing himself in public?" might be somewhat inappropriate.

But feel free to ask Angelina about the fact that

"The number of refugees and displaced people around the world has fallen by 18% to just over 17m - the lowest level in a decade."
So Angelina, "[t]he United Nations refugee agency, which released the figures, said this was due to increased international efforts to help uprooted people"; do you think that the United Nations bureaucracy will even be able to find a better euphemism than "increased international efforts" in order not to have to give credit to the United States for solving the refugee problem in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Update: Here's more from Ruud Lubbers, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, in a full self-congratulatory mode:

"The phenomenal return of Afghans to their homeland over the past few years underscores the benefits of sustained international attention and support for the work of UNHCR and its partners... The impact is felt as far away as Europe, where the numbers of Afghan asylum seekers have plunged."
A miracle!

Not wanting to rain on Lubbers' parade but for all the good humanitarian work that the UN does around the world the US armed forces have done more in a few weeks than the United Nations have done in more than 20 years to ensure that the Afghan (and Iraqi)refugees can finally come back home. I guess that's what can happen when UNHCR's "partners" include the US Marine Corp.


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