Single Sean Penn lives in Haiti
In a tent working at a camp helping displaced earthquake survivors. He’s been there since a week after the disaster in January and has left only 3 times – for the Oscars, to lobby in Washington on behalf of Haitian relief, and for a fundraiser.
Penn tells Vanity Fair – the issue with Elizabeth Taylor on the cover – that he was inspired to do more and give more after his son survived a life threatening brain injury. Now that he’s single, having split from Robin Wright, he has the independence to make this commitment.
As for Robin Wright…
“She’s a ghost to me now.”
Apparently everyone loves Penn in Haiti. Even the army people. Said Lieutenant General P. K. Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command
“My politics are not in line with Sean Penn’s. But we are allied in trying to save lives and alleviate human suffering. He is a doer and not a talker...and I respect that immensely. In a humanitarian crisis you can be a neutral—always pinching your knuckles white. Or you can operate an NGO the way Mr. Penn does.… He intuitively knew how to both work with the U.N. and break its bureaucracy down.... I applaud the leadership he has shown. He doesn’t have to do this.”
Penn reveals that Keen’s approval means more than his Oscar when recounting the commendations he received recently, presented to him by the general:
“Keen gave me this look in the eye—a look of pride. It meant more to me than any movie award.”
And he says he’s not leaving any time soon:
“There is no exit for me until there is more life than death. I can always see light in any situation. It’s just the way I’m made. I’m capable of making foolish commitments. Of being a fool. But I can see the light very clearly in terms of the ‘big picture’ for Haiti. There is a strength of character in the people who have, by and large, never experienced comfort. That’s exactly the character that our Main Street culture lacks and needs in the United States. In other words, we need Haiti.”
Look, I think it’s great what he’s doing. I think it’s amazing how invested he is, how much energy and presence he’s put into it. And I don’t want to be the bitch who sh-ts on someone else’s altruism. Obviously it’s a wonderful goal. But you have to wonder if his personal relationships don’t hold up because he doesn’t invest and isn’t as present in them the way he is outside of them.
Click here for more information about Penn in Haiti and to watch a video of him on site.