Angelina Jolie – “We’re watching the brutal endgame of the war in Syria as if it has little to do with us. But it does.”

epa02783339 US actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie (2-R) speaks with Syrian refugee kids during her visit to Red Crescent Camp in Hatay, Turkey, 17 June 2011. Angelina Jolie travelled to Turkeys border with Syria, meeting with many refugees who have fled their country in recent weeks. The flight of civilians form the northwest of Syria has picked up considerably in the last two weeks, there are now more than 9,600 people living in four camps managed by Turkey with the Turkish Red Crescent. EPA/JASON TANNER / UNHCR / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

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These are excerpts from an op-ed written by Angelina Jolie which will be published on Time Magazine. 

“I’ve been to the Syrian region some 10 times since the conflict began. At first, the families I met were hopeful. They said, “Please, tell people what is happening to us,” trusting that once the truth was known, the world would come to their rescue. But hope curdled into anger and the struggle for survival: the anger of the father who held his baby up to me, asking, “Is this a terrorist? Is my son a terrorist?” and the pain of families I met who faced daily choices about which of their children would get scarce food and medicine.”

“We’ve seen countless images of Syrian children asphyxiated by gas, maimed by shrapnel, drowned on the shores of Europe or–as I write–freezing to death in the cold of Syria’s Idlib province. None of it has been enough to override the brutal indifference of the competing forces and interests contributing to the destruction of Syria.”

“Far from healing Syria’s wounds, the response of some external powers has been to inflict further injuries, bloodying their hands in the process. Other countries have focused on the fight against terrorism or on the humanitarian relief effort, while the war itself has bled ever more fiercely.”

“Politicians often imply that we face a choice between open-ended military and diplomatic interventions of the kind we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and leaving other countries to fend for themselves, sending whatever amount of humanitarian aid we’re willing to supply, and sealing ourselves off. Syria is proof that a lack of leadership and diplomacy has consequences.”

“We’re watching the brutal endgame of the war in Syria as if it has little to do with us. But it does. We should be using our diplomatic power to insist on a cease-fire and a negotiated peace based on at least some measure of political participation, accountability and the conditions for the safe return of refugees.”

“The alternative is that Syria stands as an infamous new reference point for the brutality and destruction that it is possible to inflict with impunity upon a civilian population–and it will fall on the already loaded shoulders of the next generation to rebuild a shattered international system.”

Full Op-Ed 

Angelina Jolie is a TIME contributing editor, is an Academy Award–winning actor and Special Envoy of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees

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