Mandy Patinkin: Humanity is at risk if we don't take care of migrants

Mandy Patinkin, who plays a CIA division chief on "Homeland" racing to save a fictional world from a terror attack, is sharing the remarkable story of his own personal rescue mission - one that took him to the island of Lesbos in Greece last month. Patinkin helped refugees get ashore.

"I'm not a politician. I'm an actor. I refer to myself as a humanitician. And all I want for myself, my children and for all people all over the world, is to be less afraid," Patinkin said.

The actor was in Berlin shooting the fifth season of "Homeland" in the summer when the European refugee crisis "exploded out of proportion," Patinkin said. He wanted to go to Greece to see if he could help.

"I went to Greece because I needed to reconnect with reality," Patinkin said. "I needed to meet a family that was struggling in this real crisis. I wanted to hold a baby in my arms."

Not a single boat with migrants arrived on his first two days at Lesbos.

"The final day we were going to the airport ... and people said, 'The boats are coming,'" Patinkin said. "So we ran. We had about four or five blocks to run down the beach ... and we got there just as the boat was arriving and packed with all these people. And they came right on the beach, and the people just started flying out of the boat."

ctm1209patinkin474693640x360.jpg
Mandy Patinkin holding migrant children on the shores of Lesbos, Greece

A father put a child into Patinkin's arms, but she wasn't moving and her eyes were closed, he recalled.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, she's not alive.' ... And my mouth said, 'She's sleeping.' But I remember thinking she was not alive," he said.

The her father started to "lose it," Patinkin described.

"I was trying to find a pulse but couldn't, and then I put my hand, my finger, my baby finger in her hand, and I swear it moved. And I thought, 'Oh God, she's alive.' Then he just whisked the family away with the crowd, and they were gone," Patinkin said.

When Patinkin landed in Athens, the International Rescue Committee protection team followed up with the dad and daughter, and he found out they were taken by ambulance to the hospital.

"Masoma was born with a breathing disorder ... and she suffers from epileptic episodes. At the center they gave her medications that she needed. And the teams helped coordinate an expedited registration for the whole family. The family was reunited. I was relieved," he said, releasing a breath of relief.

Patinkin insisted the refugee situation represents a "moral crisis."

"We're all afraid of so many things. Anybody who doesn't understand that and have some empathy toward the fear that people have all over the world isn't being kind. Fear is very real, but there's nothing to be afraid of here, nothing at all," he said.

He said fear is the poison of our lives.

"Our humanity is at risk if we don't take care of these people, our right to exist is at risk. If you don't help these people, when you are in need, there will be no one -- I guarantee you -- there will be no one to help you," Patinkin said.