This exclusive interview was in the Dutch newspaper, The Telegraaf last morning! This interview has been held with Ricky the day before yesterday midday, at Schiphol airport, when he had just arrived in the Netherlands.
Thank you very much to Lucile and Adinda on TSARM and RMTEE for translating it.
Worldstar Ricky Martin visits tsunami orphans
by Daphne van Rossum
"Disaster brings out the best in us".
Ricky Martin has been in South Thailand in the areas that were hit by the tsunami. For three long days the singer of Living La Vida Loca has seen orphans, and other miseries in Puhket and PhanNga. Just landed in The Netherlands, the 33 years old Unicef ambassedor is trying to sort out everything he has seen, and give it a place in his mind. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was very intense. I slept very badly. One hour here, one hour there. Actually IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still mourning. You experience so many emotions . From anger to joy when you see the children, who just lost a father or mother, smiling agian. Children have such an optimism.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then you think Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwhat do we complain about. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s making you put things in perspective. I think that I learned a lot as a person, became wiser. What remained is the enormous unity you feel there. It was not liek Ã¢â‚¬â€œ she is from Holland, he is from Puerto Rico en he is from JapanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, but we were all one. I truly felt a worldcitizen. You can focus on the negative side, but I rather think of the good sides which were brought by this disaster. Miracles keep happening all over. There is an enormous willingness to help. So mostly I am optimistic about what is going to happen over there. Our plan is not focussed on only a short period, but building on a longer period as well. So much is gone, so much damaged. There are enough things that need to rebuild.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Just like most of us Ricky Martin celebrated Christmas with his family when the first pictures from Asia came on television. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ I was just in Puerto Rico trying to get some rest. Away from television and radio. I heard there was a disaster but i have been closing myself a bit for it. Only when I returned home, I saw the images and thought I was losing my mind. I have put myself for the television for 48 hours and when the news talked about the possibility of child trafficking in that area, I suddenly was totally awake. The Ricky Martin Foundation has started a project called People for Children en its goal is to ban sexual slavery of children. I cannot sit down with my arms crossed and watch how children become victims of this kind of dirty practices. I am an activist in body and soul."
"I live for this mission. I have had the opportunity to talk with victims of childtraffiking for years and i can tell you that this a real nightmare. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hell on earth. And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so difficult, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s say almost impossible to cope with things by the little ones. They have scars for life , if they ever can cope. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why i thought Ã¢â‚¬Å“i have to go thereÃ¢â‚¬Â. I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care what i was going to do there. Even if i could only babysit some children ina shelter while their mother could go working agian. . Or maybe just sweep a floor of a tempel. I just wanted to do something to assist those people".
"So I went there. I was being welcomed very friendly by the Thai government, and two hours after I had landed, I already had a meeting with the prime-minister of Thailand. Because our foundation is an independent private organisation, we need to work together with goverment organisations. Along wiht that, we've also had a lot of help from Unicef. I went there to look at how things were. To see what they needed, and I think I have sorted that out by now. I talked to one of the victims, and he told me that by now they have enough clothes, food and medicins, but no home yet, or a school for their children".
"The minister president has assigned a piece of land to me, and we want to go build something there. For as many families as possible. Because children who don't have a place to sleep, who are roaming over the streets, they are an easy prey for traffickers. Also schools are very important. Now children are having lessons on the beach, or in an old garage. Safe places where children can live and learn are the priority for us at the moment. Unicef is working on a different, very difficult task. They try to reunite the orphans with their family. A lot of children lost their parents and their grandmother or so lives somewhere far away. That's not easy".
How was it to meet the children in the areas that have been affected? "They are very styrong. They may have lost their father, but they are happy their mother is still alive. Sometimes it was difficult. They want an hug, they need love and are holding onto your pants. I've been working for many years with orphans over the world, but it's still something that leaves a big impression on you. When I was walking there through the orphanage, a journalist asked me if I was there for the glory of myself. I said "If you want to look at it that way. I'm using the press as a way to talk, and then shout that something needs to be done That something needs to happen NOW. Not for myself, but for that child that just became an orphan. I can reach a lot of people in many countries, and convince how necesary it is to help. So I'm probably using the media in that way, yeah".
Further along I don't have any place in my mind for negative feelings. There are too many problems. For example, the tsunami has floated away some landmines that now will be appearing elsewhere. These are things that you have to keep in mind when you are going to rebuild".
But what is it that Ricky Martin has with children? Why no actions for poor street dogs or the melting ice on the Northpole? "The Ricky Martin Foundation came to life after I've worked in a project that tried to keep young girls off the streets. I thought 'What would have happened to them without any help', and that brought me to create this foundation. Then the organized child trafficking stepped forward. That was two years ago. After drugs and weapons, it's the third biggest problem of illegal trafficking in the world. Every year, there are 1,2 million children involved in trafficking, worldwide, from which many end up in the sex industry. I've talked to a child that got forced 25 times a day to prostitution. That's why I'm doing it. For those children".
"Some people say I'm trying to help in this for the children because I started working when I was twelve with the boyband Menudo, but that's completely not true. I had my family. They loved me. I travelled all over the world, met so many people. I haven't been raped or abused. It was a choice to work, and next to that, I was making music. I've had a wonderful life. And that sometimes makes me think. Why did I got all these chances, and my brother, the boy next door, or my friend back then didn't got them?"
"I think all people in life have a destination, and that it's my mission to help the children who need it. Music has just been a tool in that to help me. Don't get me wrong, I love music, but I think it's more important to help a child, then to have a number 1 hit. Saving the lifes of children gives me more satisfaction than anything else does".
In three months Ricky Martin will come back with a new album. "I started writing on September 11nd,. I felt so dark, pessimistic and negative, but because of that, everything I wrote went into the opposite direction. Therefor it became a very optimistic, energetic record. The message is "enjoy your freedom". Like now. After everything I've been through, I would like to keep continueing to look for the good and positive things. Therefor I want to do something that's constructive, add my help to society. For example, to give those doctorswho have been working there for 24 hours a day, a pat on the back. Fortunatelly there are more artists that are willing to help and that's very good, because we appeal to a young audience too. Next week Nicole Kidman is leaving to visit a refugee camp".
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