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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Ben Affleck speaks on Congo War in Washington DC
Saturday, 01 March 2014 18:43

Ben Affleck speaks on Congo War in Washington DC

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Hollywood Actor Ben Affleck Hollywood Actor Ben Affleck MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES

Ben Affleck, Hollywood superstar and Oscar winner was in Washington DC to testify on the suffering and discomfort in the war torn  Democratic Republic of the Congo where many lives have been disfigured and perished in the on-going and ceaseless war.  Ben Affleck is the founder of Eastern Congo Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated on finding solutions to problems of Congo by using   his celebrity status, movies and media to expose the ugly situation in Congo.

Affleck said in a 20-minute session  at Washington DC that "Outside my family and my work, this is it. This is my legacy. This is the thing I will be identified with. I take it extremely seriously."  The  lawmakers in Washington were impressed on his passion and understanding of Congo's  imbroglio.

Actor and Eastern Congo Initiative founder Ben Affleck, left, laughs as his role in the movie “Argo” is referenced during his introduction prior to testifying in Washington D.C.SUSAN WALSH/AP

Ben Affleck Senate Foreign Relations - H 2014Actor Ben Affleck, left, State Department envoy in  Africa Russ Feingold, center, and Secretary of State John Kerry make statements to reporters ahead of their meeting regarding the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday in Washington.CHARLES DHARAPAK/AP Ben Affleck, left, Russ Feingold (State Department envoy in Africa ) and Secretary of State John Kerry (right)



"Congo, the former Belgian colony of about 68 million people, is one of the most volatile in Africa. Violence has claimed the lives of 5 million people since a regional war that began in 1997.


On Wednesday, Affleck was delivering a message of cautious optimism, citing the surrender last November of the armed militia M23 and the appointment of Feingold. His Eastern Congo Initiative, with two employees in the U.S. and 12 in the Congo, has had success through its community-based partnerships and, as Affleck noted, capitalism.


Theo, a chocolate company based in Seattle, is getting tons of its cacao beans from eastern Congo. Coffee is next, Affleck said.


"Now we have a window of hope in a place that has had a lot of war, a lot of conflict, a lot of suffering, basically no security sector," Affleck said.


Feingold said elections will be crucial as they stand as a "symbol to the people that they really have something to do with the government."


Affleck has made nine trips to the Congo and hopes to travel there again soon. He praised the work of former President George W. Bush on African issues as well as the effort of Cindy McCain, wife of Republican Sen. John McCain.


"Our Republican friends have perhaps been better on Africa than my party," said Affleck, a Democrat, who has occasionally toyed with running for office himself.


In his prepared testimony, he urged Congress to provide the funds for personnel and resources for the special envoy's office and to pressure President Barack Obama to engage directly with President Joseph Kabila, among other steps, " as reported by Associated Press.


Affleck will also appearance  as a special guest in American television ABC  Sunday news program to speak on finding solutions to Congo's problem.  It is important that Africans especially those in Diasporas will try as much as possible to be engage and expose on this massive suffering and human rights abuse in Congo.

Last modified on Saturday, 01 March 2014 20:23

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