People who know me well know that I am a huge fan of Angelina Jolie. I think she's intelligent, beautiful, human, and a *very* powerful woman.
I am always shocked at how much hatred people who have never met her feel towards her. Particularly since I feel a natural affinity and inclination to like her. Recently a friend responded to my surprise at the loathe that many feel towards her with a simple statement, "But isn't that how it always is with powerful women who make it fairly clear that they don't care what people think about them?" A very interesting perspective.
Because of my short book kick, I purchased her book Notes from My Travels (all proceeds go to the UNHCR).
I haven't read a book this difficult to read in a very long time.
The lives of refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador are unbelievably difficult and painful. War, death, disease, hunger, heat, cold, insects, land mines, lost loved ones, and still smiles and laughter between the tears.
This book describes her missions with the UNHCR to visit with and learn more about refugees. At 25, she took her first mission and put herself directly in a danger zone where aid workers often die. She writes honestly about how difficult it was to see the plight of the refugees, how she couldn't help but feel that she has wasted many of the first world gifts and opportunities she's been given, and how she really knows so little of what truly matters in the world.
I am inspired by Angelina's efforts to make us more aware of the plight of the 20 million refugees in the world. And, I am sad that I was definitely less aware of the reality than I should have been, despite how ugly it is.
Refugees will definitely be on my list of charitable causes going forward.