Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Rule Namibia
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
The war in Iraq, border security, runaway congressional spending? Fuhgeddaboutit.
Time to make room for the Brangelina baby.
After Angelina Jolie gave birth by caesarian section in a Republic of Namibia hospital, there was a proposal to make the day a Namibian national holiday.
Apparently, a mere day of observance wasn't enough for the media, which proceeded to elevate the arrival of Brad Pitt and Angelina's infant to a sacred event.
In keeping with a venerable theme, the proud parents gave their new baby girl a messianic name, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt.
Lyrical Neil Diamond musings aside, there are biblical implications to the name Shiloh. The word means "Messiah" or literally "the peaceful one."
But Brad and Angelina don't exactly take a pacifist-style approach when it comes to negotiating. Evidently, they prefer an intimidating one; at least they did when it came to the government of their baby's would-be birthplace.
Known mainly for its poverty, Namibia is now known for relinquishing control of its borders and airspace to the celebrity couple.
Jolie became acquainted with Namibia when she starred in the film "Beyond Borders," but she and Brad have created a real-life script that could be called "Tinseltown Takeover."
Namibia is a wretchedly destitute place with an average income of about $2,400 per year. Any boost to its tourism biz would no doubt be welcome. But we're talking about the couple with the highest celebrity profile in the world gracing the country with their presence, so it's a pretty safe bet that Namibia's tourism industry will experience a boon.
From a sealed-off luxury beach villa where they spent a couple of months, Brad and Angelina told the Republic of Namibia they wanted some control over the country or they would find another that was better to their liking. Pitt and Jolie basically threatened to move their baby's debut to another locale.
The pressure exerted by the Hollywood duo was too much for Namibian authorities, who admitted to Reuters that they had capitulated to the demands of the actors and given them the right to ban foreign journalists from entering the country.
Three weeks prior, a South African and three French photographers were thrown out of the country, a move decried by human rights groups who saw it as a violation of civil liberties. "This lady is expecting," Prime Minister Nahas Angula told Reuters at the time. "You guys are harassing her. Why don't you allow her some privacy? Harassment is not allowed in Namibia."
When the government of a sovereign state yields to the demands of Hollywood stars, celebrity power takes on a whole new meaning.
International diplomacy may never be the same again.
Maybe Brad and Angelina could pay a little visit to Iran.
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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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