LOS ANGELES: Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Mandy Patinkin used his Walk of Fame star-dedicating ceremony in Hollywood Monday to make an impassioned speech calling for respect and dignity for refugees.
The 65-year-old Chicago native, best known for playing CIA operative Saul Berenson in Showtime spy drama “Homeland,” welcomed an Iraqi refugee to the event and implored the crowd to recognize the plight of the dispossessed.
“I want you to think about these people, who are the most vulnerable among us all over the world, who need our attention, more attention than you can imagine, so that they can have quality lives and bring their children up in a healthy, not war-torn, atmosphere and grow and live and prosper,” he said.
Patinkin, whose grandfather fled the Nazis in German-occupied Poland, and whose grandmother escaped the Russian pogroms, has traveled extensively to witness the plight of displaced people since going to Greece in 2015 to help refugees from war-torn Syria.
He said noticing the ethnic diversity of the US squad at the Winter Olympics in South Korea had reminded him of the contribution immigrants had made to the country.
“They are our heroes and our athletes for all time. They represent us,” he went on.
“Let us learn to welcome other immigrants without fear, without worry, and learn to trust them and not be guided by fear. They are our teachers.”
He told AFP afterwards he felt privileged to be a voice for “those who have no voice, the refugees who are suffering.”
“I think the whole world needs to do more. These are human beings. Take care of your neighbors (as) you would take care of yourself,” he said.