Independent Diplomat was really pleased to help with this visit. JB is making a documentary about the Western Sahara, and has a long-standing interest in the issue (he has visited the refugee camps in Algeria).
He visited the UN this week to address the 4th Committee, which deals with decolonization (the Western Sahara is regarded as a decolonization issue by the UN: its status is undetermined). And this pic shows him speaking (with me behind him looking stern). You can find an article he did for Huffington Post and El Pais, which sets out the thrust of what he said. I will get the full text of his address up as soon as it’s available.
He spoke passionately, which is not usual at the UN. His presence, of course, created a stir. Before he came, I had very mixed feelings. In general, I am hostile to celebrity campaigning, and unhappy that celebs get more attention than the people suffering on the ground.
But JB impressed me. He’s nice. He was very humble about his status to raise the issue. Anyone can petition the 4th Committee so he’s not getting any access denied others. Of course, it’s a different story with the press. But he recognizes, and is free to admit, that his visibility is able to bring attention to a group that is all too often ignored, namely the Saharawis inside the occupied territory and in the refugee camps. I also admired him for taking a stand on a controversial issue. It’s easier to talk about Darfur (Clooney) or refugees (Jolie). Bardem will be attacked for having done this, not least by the Moroccan government.
And it was tremendous fun hanging about with him. Celeb life is like being a piece of meat, with everyone pecking at you. I almost felt sorry for him. But he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. And I’m on the side of anyone who stands up for the Saharawis.