WASHINGTON (CBSDC)– “Homeland” star Mandy Patinkin is speaking out on global crises while revealing his experience helping Middle Eastern refugees on the Greek Island of Lesbos.
Patinkin spoke to “CBS This Morning” detailing the journey and the effect it’s had on his world views.
“I’m not a politician. I’m an actor. I refer to myself as a humanitition. And all I want for myself, for my children and for all people all over the world is to be less afraid,” Patinkin told “CBS This Morning.”
The actor says he was filming in Berlin when the refugee crisis began to thicken during the summer and he felt the urge to do something.
“I went to Greece because I needed to reconnect with reality. I needed to meet a family that was struggling in this real crisis,” he recalled.
Patinkin says he went to Lesbos where 5,000 people had come through since the crisis began. He said not a single boat arrived within the first two days he was there.
“The final day we were going to the airport and people said, ‘The boats are coming.’ So we ran… We got there just as the boat was arriving, packed with all these people. They came right on the beach and people just started flying out the boat… a father puts his child into my arms. She had a face mask on and I lowered the face mask and she wasn’t moving, and her eyes were closed. And I thought ‘Oh my God, she’s not alive,'” Patinkin said.
He recalls saying out loud that she was sleeping but really believing in the moment that he was holding a lifeless child. The father took the child back as they both checked for a pulse. Patinkin says he put his finger in the child’s hand and swore he felt it move.
“Then he just whisked the family away with the crowd, and they were gone,” he said.
Patinkin got information from the IRC protection team that the father and daughter were taken to the hospital and that the child was given medication for epileptic episodes. He also says the family was reunited and given an expedited registration process.
“What’s at risk if we don’t help these people is a moral crisis… Fear is the poison of our lives. We’re all afraid of so many things,” Patinkin told “CBS This Morning.” “Anybody who doesn’t understand that isn’t being kind, fear is very real. But there’s nothing to be afraid of here… Our humanity is at risk if we don’t take care of these people… If you don’t help these people when you are in need, there will be no one to help you.”