Posted by Larry Gleeson
Hollywood film humanitarian (Citizen Penn), Sean Penn, is smack-dab in the middle of the most dangerous region on the planet, the battlefields of Ukraine. As the Russian military apparatus surrounded and consequently invaded its western-looking, democratic neighbor, Penn was working in Ukraine on a documentary exploring “the consequences of Russian agression” for Vice Studios when hostilities were happening.
In a publicly issued statement, Penn declared,
“Already a brutal mistake of lives taken and hearts broken, and If he doesn’t relent, I believe Mr. Putin will have made a most horrible mistake for all of humankind…President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle. Ukraine is the tip of the spear for the democratic embrace of dreams. If we allow it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost.”
Often characterized and stereotyped by early-career exploits of consistently making news headlines for punching cameramen, his political viewpoints, and marrying the world’s most recognizable pop star of the time, Madonna, Penn has diligently changed his image through extensive efforts to aid assistance to his fellow ‘man’ in war-torn, disaster laden, disaffected countries beginning in 2002 with the war in Iraq, adding a herculean Haitian earthquake response effort, and more recently expanding the availability COVID-19 vaccines to 1.3 million disadvantaged and low-income Los Angeleans through his CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort). CORE emanated from Penn and international aid worker, Ann Lee’s experiences in their Haitian relief and recovery efforts.
In today’s LATimes article, “Actor Sean Penn wants U.S. to help rescue Ukraine from Russian invasion,” journalist Meg James expounds upon Penn’s efforts to reach out to Ukraine. Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lament the feelings of isolation as they fight for their freedom and the survival of their beloved Ukraine.
“America isn’t here. The European Union isn’t here,” a 24-year-old hotel employee in Kharkiv, Ukraine, named Alexander (he declined to give his last name)…So we’re fighting on our own.” Zelensky communicated that Ukraine needed more people like Penn and the true friends who support Ukraine’s struggle to maintain its freedom in the face of the Russian onslaught via a Facebook post, “Sean Penn demonstrates the courage that many others, including Western politicians, lack.
This afternoon, the German government announced a shipment of 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine “as quickly as possible.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement. “In this situation, it is our duty to help Ukraine, to the best of our ability, to defend itself against Vladimir Putin’s invading army.”
As reported in The Wrap, a recent petition by the Ukrainian government has called for producers, exhibitors, and world film festivals from screening and distributing Russian Federation cultural cinema and its distorted propaganda messaging. Russia has a long and storied cinema tradition of using the apparatus to further the ambitions of the federation. In recent years, several Russian films made their appearance at top world festivals.