Haitians are Amazing People, Give Them A Chance! Said Jolie

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Michel Nau_

Haitians are Amazing People, Give Them A Chance! Said Jolie

Post by Michel Nau_ » Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:44 am

Jolie, Pitt tour poverty-stricken Haiti
Star couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt joined musician Wyclef Jean in Haiti during a visit that included meeting with children in jail.

BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

A visibly pregnant Angelina Jolie and beau Brad Pitt toured a children's jail and other parts of Port-au-Prince Friday as Haitians expressed surprise that Hollywood celebrities would visit their violence and poverty plagued nation.

But despite the cocoon of Haitian police and U.N. peacekeepers guarding their every move, Jolie, 30, and Pitt, 42, managed to shine a spotlight on the cause of their visit -- the country's desperately poor children.

Elaine Bole, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, said Jolie ``shines a light on a problem that doesn't always get
a lot of light. The work she does for us, it makes a huge difference.''

Jolie has long been a goodwill ambassador for the UNHCR.
''It's about the kids,'' said the stars' host, Wyclef Jean, hip-hop artist and Haiti native. Jean helped found the music group The Fugees, and his Yéle Haiti foundation runs several programs to help children in the Caribbean nation.

As a U.N. ambassador, Jolie has visited U.N. refugee camps in Ecuador, Colombia, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Cambodia, Thailand and Pakistan. She has adopted an orphan girl from Ethiopia and a son from Cambodia.

Jolie and Pitt warmly greeted the crowd of workers at the Port-au-Prince airport as they arrived Friday by helicopter from the neighboring Dominican Republic, where Jolie is filming a movie. They joined Jean to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his nonprofit foundation.

''You really can see that she wanted to come,'' said Maryse Kedar, president
of the Haiti branch of Yéle Haiti and one of a select group of Haitians who greeted Jolie and Pitt on their first-ever visit to the country. ``Nobody comes to visit Haiti, so to have a celebrity like Angelina come here, Haitians really appreciate that.''

AMAZING PEOPLE
''You hear so much just about the danger and the fear and then you come here and you meet just an amazing people,'' Jolie was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. "Given just a little chance, and given a little help, this is going to be a great country.''

Though Jolie's visit wasn't part of her U.N. duties, Kedar and Jean said they hope her presence there will raise the profile of Haiti's desperate needs above the wave of violence and kidnappings racking the country at it prepares for repeatedly delayed presidential elections, now set for Feb. 7.

VISITING THE CHILDREN
Jolie and Pitt's first step was the Immaculate C
onception School where they visited with children who are part of an after-school sports program sponsored by the Yéle Haiti Foundation.

Later they went to the children's jail, where they were greeted by four youngsters who rapped about their lives behind bars and the hope they held for the future. As they visited the cells, the couple used a translator to ask the children, some as young as 10, about their lives and how they ended up in jail.

Jean handed out a few toys and gave the jail a symbolic check for $2,000 -- a promise of what his foundation will provide to the prison, Kedar said.

The couple ended their visit with a private reception at the Montana Hotel and are scheduled to leave Haiti today.
While the tour of the jail was somber, the visit to local television station Telemax, which Jean recently bought, was lively. Groups of teenage girls screamed Pitt's name while waving his photo.

In the courtyard, scores of
school children wearing white Yéle Haiti T-shirts welcomed the couple with traditional Haitian dances and music. The couple and Jean later joined in the festivities, dancing with the youngsters.

''I am so happy to see them here,'' said Elisa Philippon, 14, who came to catch a glimpse of the celebrities. "They are the perfect couple, we are really happy because this is such a big opportunity for us. I think it's a good thing they came here, they can see what's really going on.''

Philippon acknowledged that most Haitians know nothing about Jolie and Pitt and were probably surprised by the heavily armed 10-vehicle caravan that moved them around Port-au-Prince. But they do know Jean, she added.

''We're huge fans of Wyclef, but what they're doing here is for the people up high, not for us down below,'' said Emmanuel Joseph, 24, an unemployed man who could not get into the Telemax station. "He goes down to Bel Air, Solino, Cite Soleil to see the Haiti
an people. He's our brother. But we don't know why those people came.''

Herald special correspondent Reed Lindsay in Port-au-Prince contributed to this report.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:38 am

I think that was very thoughtful and great from their part to
show their concern.

We need a lot of help! Hopefully, some Haitians will pitch in. Instead of empty promises and useless rhetorics.

Actually, I always had high regards for Wyclef. Every since I saw him in the 90s wrapping himself with the haitian flag in the Musical Awards. Back then, I was living in North Carolina. I was so moved that I cried, man.

What a great Guy! We need more like him.

Angelina is also amazing for her contributions elsewhere and Haiti.

Michel, I still have Hope. And believe me, changes will come sooner than expected!

L'union fait la Force,

leonel

Morisseau
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 7:26 pm

Post by Morisseau » Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:49 pm

IT TAKES GREAT COURAGE TO LET SOMEONE CONVINCE YOU TO VISIT HAITI IN THE MIDST OF THIS UNPRECEDENTED VIOLENCE/KIDNAPPING. I SINCERELY WANT TO EXTEND MY GRATITUDE TO ANGELINA AND PITT FOR THAT. tHIS TOUCHES ME SO DEEPLY IT'S UNREAL.

Michel Nau_

Post by Michel Nau_ » Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:46 pm

Leonel wrote: [quote]changes will come sooner than expected! [/quote] Morisseau wrote: [quote]IT TAKES GREAT COURAGE TO LET SOMEONE CONVINCE YOU TO VISIT HAITI IN THE MIDST OF THIS UNPRECEDENTED VIOLENCE/KIDNAPPING. I SINCERELY WANT TO EXTEND MY GRATITUDE TO ANGELINA AND PITT FOR THAT. tHIS TOUCHES ME SO DEEPLY IT'S UNREAL.[/quote]
I hope so Leonel. Haiti needs positive changes and the sooner the better. I believe that we could be on the right track if we focus our effort on the people and let the politicians eat greedily themselves up.

We don't need to achieve a political position first before bringing our contributions to our people.
I agree with you Morisseau. It takes great courage and dedication to visit a country like Haiti in this mayhem. My respect goes to Brat and Angela.

Putting politics aside, I believe that Wycliffe Jean did a very good job in term of public relations b
y convincing those superstars of Hollywood to come to Haiti.

A lot of people accused Wycliffe as being an “arrivist, a patekwe”, an opportunist with a thuggish attitude.

Opportunist may be but he is put his money and his cause where his mouth is. He is investing a lot of money in Haiti especially where we need it most, communication and the education of the children.
He is opening the door to a lot of us on how to use our connections and to find the right persons to join our cause.

Wycliffe as others said has a thuggish attitude. The reasons are more likely that the guy is from the hip pop generation, young, a charismatic artist and a talented musician, producer, writer etc.

Some people reproached him from being to rash with the media, taking over the diplomatic salon of the airport, and for giving preference to his TV company, Telemax the exclusivity coverage of Brat and Angela's visit.
We need to understand that the guy is a bu
sinessman, and has to protect his territory.

Others reproached him of being too controversial, to close to the people from Cite Soleil and may have some inside information regarding violence and kidnappings.

Those things are rumors and personal attacks against Wycliffe Jean that I will leave to the experts to debate.
My opinion is:
If something is positive for the Haitian people, I don't care who is behind it.
Lavalas, GNBists, Group 184, blan, nwa, if it is good for the Haitian people, it is good enough for me.
My country and my people first before political parties, and ideologies.

We need to convince not only foreign superstars like Brat and Angelina to come to Haiti, but also our famous Haitian brothers and sisters who could join us putting Haiti back in the map.

They are out there! They are NBA players, actors, boxers, soccer players, scientists, managers, CEO, writers etc. We
need to track them down and convince them to join our nonprofit organizations as board members and spoke persons.

I am sure if we build the right cause and with the right public relations, they will come.

Michel

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