“When does compassion, when does morality, when does caring come in? I just hope that one day that people will realise that peace is a far better path to follow.”

My Opa always used to use the saying that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I thought of that saying a lot yesterday, though not used in the traditional sense.

As I was driving home from New York yesterday morning, I was listening to David Davies interviewing Desmond Tutu on NPR.  Tutu, Davies said, had been recently linked to a poll that had been conducted in America concerning the top humanitarian celebrities.

Now, if you don’t know much about Desmond Tutu you should do minimal research or read his books. Tutu has spent the majority of his life in dedication to protest. A line he said, roughly transcripted, was that in every case he was for justice, against injustice. He wholly opposed apartheid, brought together a league of churches to protest the segregation, and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his related work. There is absolutely no way that you can see or hear him speak without being moved.

Davies laughed when he mentioned that Tutu had been placed third on the poll in which Americans named the top celebrity humanitarians. Ahead of him? Angelina Jolie and Bono. I felt a wave of embarrassment for all Americans when I heard that- how in the world have we named Jolie and Bono ahead of someone who spent years protesting segregation, oppression, and wicked customs? Someone who has been jailed repeatedly, had his family targeted, had his life targeted?

Now understand that I’ve had a long-standing dislike for Jolie. Aside from the fact that her acting is subpar (have you ever seen The Good Shephard? I cringe.) I hate the fact that I’ve heard “oh, like Angelina Jolie!” as a common response to saying that I want to adopt. I want to adopt an orphaned refugee, and have said that since I was six, and somehow that links me to her. A friend once argued that she brings awareness to the fact that children in other countries need to be adopted as well. That’s great, but the people that she’s swaying would only be doing it for image sake. Is that ever enough reason to adopt a child? A sudden wave of a thousand Lucille’s from Arrested Development?

I think that what I’m trying to say is that there are numbers of people that I would have placed on that list before Angelina Jolie and Bono. Kofi Annan. Nelson Mandela. Coretta Scott King. John Hume. Elie Wiesel. Woodrow Wilson. All famous names, all great humanitarians. And not known for making out with their brothers or keeping a glass encasement of their lover’s blood on a necklace. People that didn’t decide that they need an image other than “sexy but creepy”.

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