Affleck to Obama: Make the Congo a Priority
Ben Affleck may have a buzz of Oscar noms swarming around his hit film “Argo”, but the actor isn’t keen to talk about Hollywood. These days, it’s all about making sure he can do whatever it takes to keep a spotlight fixed upon the civil violence that continues to unfold in the Congo.
“One of the things we’re hearing from our people [in the Congo] is that the schools that we fund, people are hiding out in,” the actor said during an appearance on ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos.’ “The hospitals are completely overwhelmed. They’re offering free care for war victims. A shell just hit a camp and paralyzed a 5-year-old boy from the neck down. So you’re hearing all kinds of … brutal, terrible stuff.”
Affleck, as we’ve written extensively about in the past, launched his Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010 to support local solutions that help build sustainable communities in the nation. This past fall marked his 7th visit to the country.
“I saw terrible things,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “You know: the amount of sexual-based violence against women; people suffering from preventable disease; child soldiers who needed to be integrated into society; children without schooling at all. So we started to get involved in those areas.”
With the election season over and President Obama now in office for another four years, Affleck says the time is now for the U.S. to step in and help end violence that has claimed the lives of an estimated 3 million people.
“He’s not unaware of this, and I appreciate all the other things that he’s doing, but this has to be a priority,” he said of Obama.
“I think this is critical,” he added. “I think our actions in foreign policy– and maybe I am naïve– you know, represent our values and represent who we are. And if any American were to go to that country and stand and see what was happening there, they would insist that we do what we could.”
Watch video of Affleck’s appearance below.