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Angelina Opens Up About Her Time In Chad

While we can't wait to see Angelina's next film project, it's no secret that in the meantime she remains committed to her aid work in Africa and around the world. For her recent trip to visit Darfur refugees in Chad, Angelina invited along a photographer and afterwards sat down with Newsweek to talk about her experiences. The images from her trip, like the one below of a young boy who remains tethered for fear that he will run away after witnessing atrocities that have left him psychologically unwell, are intense and heartbreaking, to say the least. Here's an excerpt from her interview:

When did it occur to you that you could do something about this directly? Did people approach you or —
I approached them. I think they thought I was a little crazy.

When was this?
Six years ago. I was very nervous to call the U.N. agency at the time. I [was] considered a rebel in Hollywood. At the time I was also a bit of the wild child. So first I went to Washington [to the UNHCR office] and I sat with everybody there and said, "You know, I know you don't know me. You might have heard things about me… And I don't want to bring negative attention to your agency. If you could just help me, I'll pay my way."

I spent the next year and a half going to, first, two camps in Africa, and then Pakistan and Cambodia. And with no cameras and with no press and had the opportunity to have this great education before I spoke at all…. I was transformed in such an amazing way.

To see more from the interview just

But you do have photographers following you now.
It took me a while to agree to do it. I guess I saw that so many times the picture comes before the knowledge and the substance and I certainly didn't want to do that to myself or the organization. And also, I really just was shy. I was shy about sitting on the floor and talking to a woman and having a camera take a picture because I thought it was making less of my conversation with her. But… I was changed by the faces of the people I saw. "It is something that I am incapable of describing...those faces and that place and those people. And so I think it's just—let the people speak for themselves through the camera. And if I can draw you in a little because I'm familiar, then that's great. Because I know that at the end you're not looking at me, you're looking at them.

I think it's fair to say people start out by looking at you, Angelina.
As long as they end up looking at them, that's the point.

Do you worry about people who say this is celebrity tourism?
I don't know if anybody saying that has spent the last six years of their life going to over 30 camps and really spending time with these people. I can't care. At the end of the day, I'm sure a lot of criticism could keep a lot of people from doing this kind of work…

If someone had a direct criticism of my opinion on the issue, if someone had a direct criticism of the image shown because they think it hurts somebody then I will take that into consideration. But there are a lot of people that simply have an immediate gut reaction and they just don't want to combine artists with foreign policy. And hey, I understand. I get it. I know where you're coming from. And to each his own. … You know, I was more shy when I first went into a camp that other field officers would not want me there.

There will always be ways to find fault with Angelina and her efforts, but I do think she is committed and deserves positive recognition, too. At least she seems not to care what the public says either way.


Join The Conversation
LissInAlaska LissInAlaska 10 years
I love, love, love Angelina Jolie. I think she is a wonderful humanitarium as well. I just hope that if she continues with her adoptions, maybe next time she will focus on a child who needs a loving home here in the U.S.
princess_ash princess_ash 10 years
Wow, good for her. I have a friend that is really into helping out developing countries and hopes to be able to work in the fight against poverty. At least AJ uses her power and money for worthwhile causes and tries to at least make us AWARE of what is going on in third world countries, instead of allowing us to live blissfully in our little North American bubbles.
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 10 years
I think this is great! More people are talking about this issue. Would it be such a topic for debate if she were not involved? Definitley not. I completely respect Angelina for her work, and I understand where she comes from (when she was talking to the agency about her past and wanting to help).
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
Deba Deba 10 years
and how do you pretend they can bring publicity if probably more than 50% of Americans fall in the category of ignorants and careless, and because of Angelina continues travels to Darfur, they discover where was Africa. How? By themselves... yes.. sure, its gonna take some time... don you think? Im glad Angelina put her face and said I care, Im here and this is what happens
lawyerjenn lawyerjenn 10 years
Peace, I'm glad I brought you into the conversation. Please tell me again where either of my posts attack (viciously you say?) Angelina. As a matter of fact, I believe I said I respected her for this work. That said, I am allowed to disagree with the policy that UN has in place with its celebrity spokespersons and Goodwill ambassadors. Obviously if you work for the UN you will think otherwise and will agree with their policies. Am I not allowed to disagree or think that certain policies are not effective? I believe that's just my opinion and I'm stating it. So what. I am well aware and very disgusted with how isolated and ignorant Americans are from the devastating problems in the world. And in fact, I believe that has to change. But I'm sorry if I don't believe this lovely photo spread will spur people into action. There are several types of people out there. (1) people who knew nothing about darfur before Angie went there. Those people are clueless and aren't exactly the type to then commit themselves to life of service, or hell, even donate $20 to unicef. Those people would likely think "gosh those pictures are really sad. Who wants starbucks?" (2) people who are aware, read the new york times, read, educate themselves and live the best life they can, donate when and where they can. I fall in this category and again while I appreciate angie's effort, she's isn't exactly teaching me anything. (I purchased a "save darfur" t-shirt in 2004. I'm not claiming I'm a hero for this (far from it), I'm just saying this problem has been around for a LONG TIME.) (3) people who are 100% committed to these causes, living and working with the victims of these crimes or working for charities and organizations trying to bring relief. These people don't really need angelina's publicity to bring awareness to them. I think they are more aware than even she is. It is that last category of people that I believe are the REAL heros. These are the people who need to be on newsweek's cover. These are the people that we need to celebrate. And I believe one of the problems with our wealthy society is that we don't encourage our young leaders to be hero's like this.
SunshineDaydream SunshineDaydream 10 years
I just don't care what anybody says about her....She is a GOOD human being. No wonder Brad fell in love with her!!! She is doing a lot more for humanity than any other "star" that I knowof...You keep on Truckin', Angie. You are my HERO!!!!
RoSsB RoSsB 10 years
I truly believe that she is sincere in her humanitarian efforts. Way to go Angie! More power to you and God bless.
krisua krisua 10 years
Her heart is in the right place.
Fantasia1 Fantasia1 10 years
why do ppl base judements on others based on personal lives, as if we have the most perfect personal lives? as long as ur doing good things and spreading love and peace around the world you should be respected i dont care if u cheated i dont care if you have cursed and i dont care if u dress badly!, i dont judge based on that. we are all human!
sanD13 sanD13 10 years
I don't want to read all the comments here but I'd just like to note that YES she is making a difference. She may not be single handedly making a difference in changing the entire tragedy of Darfur but that day when she hugged that boy, she made a difference to him. I've been to orphanages in Africa and when I was there, it was truly humbling and heart breaking to see children who've been through more hardships than I had ever been through. And if I made a difference to only one child, my entire trip out there was worth it.
brokenhalo brokenhalo 10 years
Damn I logged out to soon last night! Nyara, I was :ROTFL: at your posts- the giraffe thing is hilarious!!! I do find it really strange that I can name 3/4 of the states in America, yet I've met an American who had no clue who Nelson Mandela was, even though she did history at school!
peace peace 10 years
I work at the UN and I sometimes read popsugar and fabsugar to take my mind off work, my own life, etc. After reading some of your comments, I registered on this website because I'm truly disheartened by some of the vicious attacks on Angelina Jolie. I don't care too much about her personal life, but to Dark, Lawyerjenn, and a few of the other posters who criticise Ms. Jolie and other Goodwill Ambassadors, you have no idea how little Americans know about the conflicts, poverty, disease, and extreme hardships that the world is plagued with. If the photographs of Ms. Jolie encourage even ONE person to take action, to donate, or to care, then we are on our way to make the world a slightly better place. Regardless of whether or not they are a celebrity, please do not underestimate the influence one person can have to make a difference.
lhomey lhomey 10 years
WOW -- this is the largest post I've ever seen on PopSugar. One this is certain about Angelina: Whether you love her or you hate her, she is captivating (both how she looks and what she does). And I begrudgingly give her kudos for using that factor about herself to expose attrocities and inhumane conditions around the world. I'm not too impressed with her personal choices (Billy Bob, then getting involved with a married Brad Pitt), but she's making positive contributions elsewhere, sooooo... I guess she's okay.
moviegal moviegal 10 years
Ghana_Princess nailed it. This is her current addiction; previously she has partaken in self-mutilation (cutting and burning herself)and has been addicted to getting tattoos, so this is by far the most positive manifestation of her addictive tendencies. If this weren't about her, she (literally and metaphorically) wouldn't be in the picture. It's a shame because she turns an indisputably noble effort (despite whatever might intially cause her to take action) into a self-promoting photo opp. Hopefully, some good will still come out of it. On a GREEN note, I really hope she's flying first or business class on commercial flights and not burning 10s of thousands of gallons of jet fuel on her "activist" world tour. One can hope...
JKe895 JKe895 10 years
OMG! Some of you people are some serious haters! Who cares if she's getting her pictures taken or not, she's openly stated that she's been doing this for 6 years! At least she's doing something. That's more than I can say for most people who wake up every morning and fix themselves something to eat before taking a long hot shower and then getting into nice clothes and going to work just to come home and do the same all over again. BTW, I bet that most of the haters have never been outside the borders of the U.S. and it's border countries let alone to Europe or even to Africa or Asia to even make that judgement to begin with. Life is not all sweet and cozy once you venture outside the confines of your well built home mind you. Good on Angelina and everyone else that tries to make a difference regardless of how small or minute it may be, at least it's a difference. Everyone else can shove it!
Adore1 Adore1 10 years
To all the naysayers, SHE DOESN"T GIVE A SH8T what u think... so continue foaming at the mouth, she still doesn't give a sh*t!!!!
sashak sashak 10 years
right on mar! Whom ever said that it is corruption in gov't is dead on. There are people who are willing to donate time, talent, & treasure (wow, thats a phrase left over from Catholic school!) but who are disheartened by the corruption of those in power in the countries that need the most help. International pressure needs to be put on those leaders. The leader (is he the pres?) of Sudan will not acknowledge the crisis in Darfur & greatly under reports the deaths. He also refuses to let peacekeepers in the region to try to stem the violence. Now I don't even pretend to say that I have an answer, but as long as people keep the issue in the spotlight, at least the world will know. People will read anything about celebs (duh, thats why we're all here!!) & if some joe shmo sees AJ on the cover of Newsweek, maybe he'll acctually read it & become informed.
mar mar 10 years
I do think if or when we get a more liberal leader of our government, change can happen. What I said before was not just about money, our govt concentrates on the wrong things. Look at the Palestines and Jews, things have calmed down because America got involved. Before Sharon has his stroke, we were making good progress. I do beleive with the right people as our leaders,we can make a difference, so I am hoping that this will be a topic in the presidental debates, maybe not, but I hope. I just can not wait until our cureent president is not in office anymore, I am sickened by the American govermnents priorities
phatE phatE 10 years
a very respectful interview.. don't really like her, but that opens my view of her.
skinny-fat skinny-fat 10 years
The nature of the world being what it is, I don't think starvation and disease and ignorance will ever be eliminated. BUT, I have to commend those who try to make a difference no matter how small it may seem in the big picture. As someone posted here in another thread, every child saved is a victory. Whatever the motive. ************************************************ "I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful." Marilyn Monroe
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 10 years
Lebella which organization do you volunteer with for fistulas, I'm with Matercare International. and can we stop with calling each other dumb or fools(unless someone is just too rude), if we were dumb we wouldn't have all these opinions and discussions. Just because we all differ on opinions doesn't make any one of us lesser than the other. You like chicken, I like liver, deal with it!
lebellanina lebellanina 10 years
I don't see why all of you feel that is necessary to sit in judgment of someone's actions - scrutinizing them for any essence of pseudo-altruism. Honestly, if you really give a crap then get off your dumb arses and do something about it - donate to some organization, offer to volunteer, hand out flyers, make a club, give speeches in your community - I am only a student and I have done all the above and much more to help our community from working in the free clinics with AIDS patients to going on a trip to help treat African Women suffering from Obstetric Fistula (look that one up!) - when a person carries out a deed for the benefit of man - I do not believe it is right and ethical to sit in judgement of the nature of their actions - I don't think we can be so selfish at this point as there is a lot of more work to be done.

Sabor, Estilo, Amor Curioso de Moda
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 10 years
There are oil reserves in Nigeria but England is all over that like acne on a 13 year old's face so too late for America. Anyway not a lot of countries have oil but we have gold, diamonds, platinum, uranium, copper etc but until they become more important than oil or we can build war heads we are insignificant. It's actually funny.
siouxsie siouxsie 10 years
man- i don't know what her motivations are- i don't think they're purely one way or another. i've seen instances where she seems pretty full of herself- so i can see her doing it partly for an ego thing- or to redeem her past reputation, but honestly you can't put that much effort and money into this kind of stuff and not actually care at all. .. i just wish the damn girl would eat something. she looks horrible...
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