Angelina Jolie took to the stage of the Women in the World Summit on Thursday and told the moving story of a Somali doctor whose farm has, for decades, been the safe-haven for many women fleeing hunger, violence and rape.
The story was a moving one, and highlighting the fragile state of security for women in Africa, but the main-stream media has once again chosen to exploit the public event, by focusing on Joie's attire -- which got a lot of attention at the Oscars--over her humanitarian efforts.
Sexy Angelina Covers up Both Legs at Event, reads Us Magazine's headline. Angelina Jolie Refrains from Flashing her Right leg at Women in the World Summit, is another headline from the Daily Mail.
Jolie's high slit black dress may have caught our attention at Academy Awards, but really who cares that she was wearing an elegant trouser suit on the Women's Summit red carpet when she delivered such a compelling testimony.
The actress, who is also a Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations High commissioner for Refugees, told the story of Dr. Hawa Abdi, the obstetrician and gynecologist whose clinic has provided security and shelter for women ever since the downfall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre that left Somalia without a solid government.
Abdi's story illuminates the nightmare of tens of millions around the world, said Jolie, the internally displaced and the ones homeless within their homelands.
Abdi faced many challenges during her operation. She was taken hostage by militants, but later freed after lecturing on her cause.
Over the past year the famine in Somalia has posed greater obstacles for the clinic. Abdi faced an increased demand for her services with over 200 men and women arriving at her camp in mid-July. When the famine ended in November, an epidemic of pneumonia broke out in the camp.
The start of 2012 hasn't been much better for Abdi. It was only last week a businessman arrived at the camp with militants claiming the land and opening the doors to displacing 400 individuals.
Despite all the obstacles, Abdi, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last week, sent a message of hope to the summit:
I want to tell you [in the] last 27 years, I have given my people my heart and my soul. Still I did not lose my hope. One day my people's lives will change in a better way. I hope my children and the children who grow in camp, and are born in the hospital, will change the lives of Somali people, because I trained them to be honest, and be hard-working. The Nobel Peace Prize nomination comes at the right time. I was in a low level of hope. But the nomination lifted my morale and it gave me the continuous keeping of hope alive. If I win Nobel Peace Prize, I will empower economically Somali women and give home for homeless people. Thank you.