About eight years ago, a young actor bought me lunch in New York while I was on a speaking tour of American universities. He wanted me to tell him about torture and extraordinary rendition,and in particular precisely what I had witnessed personally. He wished to get authentic, first hand, hard information. He was interested in the characters and motivations of the people who supported and administered the torture policy, and I recall he was struck by my telling him that some of them were nice people who I had known for years. He had a very gentle persona. His name was Mark Ruffalo. I am sorry to say that, having been living in Uzbekistan and Ghana, I had never heard of him.
I have no recollection of how that lunch came about or who organized it. I think it was just on the itinerary my American publisher gave me. My impression was that Ruffalo’s purpose was to inform himself politically, rather than prepare for a role or anything professionally oriented. I had almost forgotten about it until I read today’s profile in the Guardian. There is often much scepticism about the sincerity, roots and durability of celebrity activism. I merely wish to point out that in Ruffalo’s case, his is very genuine and very well grounded.