George and Amal Clooney had a poignant encounter with three Syrian refugee families during a trip to Berlin last month. Their meeting was filmed and a video was released by the International Rescue Committee on Tuesday, showing the power couple speaking to refugees.
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George, 54, and his Beirut-born wife Amal, 38, empathised with the families, while also revealing that they had once fled their native countries.
George and Amal Clooney met refugees in Berlin last month
"I'm of Irish descent and in America, 100 years ago, we were refugees, my family," said George. "The Irish were treated terribly in America for a period of time and not accepted.
"America learnt to accept all of these ideas – it's what our country is, a country of immigrants. And we have not recently done a very good job remembering who we are."
Amal admitted: "My own family is from Lebanon and they also ran away from a war"
Amal, a human rights barrister, revealed to the group: "My own family is from Lebanon and they also ran away from a war, and were lucky enough to be accepted by a European country in 1982 when the violence there was really bad.
"Many years later, everyone is doing well. My father has returned to Beirut and I hope that as you say, you will be able to go back to a safe and free Syria."
The couple also had a private meeting with Angela Merkel
The couple heard from one Syrian woman who was caught in the firing line with her children. She tried to tell the youngsters that "death was just death" and that she would prefer to die by the bullet than by beheading. "I didn't want them to die scared like that," she said.
Another man revealed that he had been tortured in a political prison and still gets death threats to this day.
Amal and George Clooney talk to Syrian families in Berlin
Today, on the 5th anniversary of the Syria conflict, we share a message of hope stemming from a recent meeting with George Clooney and Amal Clooney and three Syrian refugee families now safe in Germany. The families shared with the Clooney's the terror of fleeing war-ravaged Syria and their hopes for a better future. In turn, George also shared his family’s history of flourishing in America after fleeing Ireland, and Amal her family’s history of leaving war-torn Lebanon for the United Kingdom. We're honored to have organized this meeting. Share this video if you stand #withSyria, IRC, George, and Amal in making #RefugeesWelcome-- wherever they are.Posted by International Rescue Committee on Tuesday, 15 March 2016
"I'm of Irish descent and in America, 100 years ago, we were refugees, my family," said George
George, who said it was "shocking" that the crisis still continues five years on, is committed to raising awareness about the refugee crisis. The actor was in Berlin to promote his new film Hail, Ceasar! but took time off the red carpet to champion the cause close to his heart.
On the same day that George and Amal met the refugees, who are now living safely in Germany, the couple also had a private meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel. The trio were joined by former UK foreign secretary David Miliband, who now heads the aid group International Rescue Committee.