Saturday, June 16, 2007

Only Human to Believe Good Intentions
By Bashir Goth

We live in a world where celebrities are placed on a high pedestal; where glamour replaces saintliness; a world where the mass media projects Hollywood stars as the icons of perfection; where children around the world dream of becoming tomorrow’s Oprahs and Barrymores more than Nobel prize winners advancing human knowledge, even more than becoming humble, compassionate human beings like Mother Teresa.

We live in a world where renowned environmental experts shy away from expressing their opinions before the empty rhetoric of glitzy names, where seasoned book reviewers leave the field for talk show stardom to recommend their taste in books to a starry-eyed populace. In a world where artificial beauty can evoke more compassion than the hollow temples of famished children, where the plight of the poor can satiate the celebrity’s greed for more media glitz, where the tiptoeing sound of stiletto shoes gains more attention than the cries of mothers over the emancipated bodies of their malnourished babies, where an actress’s hairdo speaks louder than the hard scientific facts and figures of suffering compiled by humanitarian workers on the ground -- one can understand the need of UN organizations to use the services of Hollywood stars.

Therefore, if efforts of stars like Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt can feed the hungry, provide medicine to the sick and send children to schools, why not take advantage of their names and voices. If the dedication of George Clooney can highlight the cause of the Darfur people, why not grab it? If rock stars such as Bob Geldof and Bono can put the issues of Africa on the agenda of the G-8 leaders, why not thank them?

When Barrymore admits that the stories she has heard from Kenyan children who yearned for one meal a day, pencils and paper, have altered her life and humbled her to the core, it is only human to believe her. And if her efforts and those of other celebrities can give promise to poor African and Asian mothers, why deny them? In my opinion, considering the world we live in today, any action carried out with good intention and for good cause should be embraced and praised. Read More in Newsweek/Washington Post/PostGlobal.

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