Brandon Davis, PoliticKING with Larry King
Actor. Director. Humanitarian. George Clooney doesn’t wear just one title -- and it seems he doesn’t stop moving when his movies wrap either. The Two-time Oscar winner opened the Berlin film festival on Thursday with a spotlight on Europe's refugee uptick, brought on by the wars in the Middle East and North Africa. Clooney and his wife Amal, a Lebanese-born human rights lawyer, have lent their support for Germany's open-door policy towards refugees after meeting with Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin.
David Miliband, the former UK foreign secretary, reportedly accompanied the two to the meeting. Miliband, now head of the New York-based International Rescue Committee, told the BBC the meeting involved discussing solutions to the “global problem” and praised Merkel for “showing very strong leadership” during the crisis.
David Miliband, Wiki Commons
Clooney, who has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2008, has encouraged the United States to take in more refugees. Germany alone took in 1.1 million refugees in 2015, and Merkel was named “Person of the Year” by TIME magazine.
The country accepted the largest number of asylum-seekers of all European countries, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Merkel said in September of last year that, “Germany is doing what is morally and legally obliged. Not more, and not less.”
This is extraordinary also because it’s larger than the total number of refugees that the United States — which has a population of 320 million compared to Germany’s 80 million — has accepted in the last 10 years. Since 2005, the US has accepted a total of 675,982 refugees from regions all over the world, according to information from the Refugee Processing Center.
However, Germany's attitude towards migrants might have stiffened recently. Merkel’s policy has come under fire from opponents, some even within her own conservative camp. Last month, Sigmar Gabriel, the German vice chancellor, announced the country was moving to place Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on a list of “safe countries of origin.” This would mean that migrants from those countries would have little chance of getting asylum. He also said that some migrants would be blocked from bringing their families to join them in Germany for two years.
The 11-day Berlinale Film Festival is spotlighting around a dozen films focused on refugees, but Clooney admitted it would take time before Hollywood will turn its attention to such stories.
"The unfortunate thing about the film community is we react to situations much more than we lead the way. News stories have to continue to happen and then scripts are written and it takes a couple years before people are actually making films about it," he told reporters.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.