Ben Affleck Reports From Congo
Ben Affleck has written an essay for TIME about his trips to Congo and the devastating conflict there.
The picture of the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has grown tragically familiar: a region with great natural wealth, riven by war, racked with hunger and traumatized by a long history of colonial abuse, postcolonial kleptocracy and plunder. In the past 10 years alone, millions have died here, and more die each day as a result of the conflict. Most die not from war wounds but from starvation or disease. A lack of infrastructure means there is little medical care in the cities and none in rural communities, so any infection can be a death sentence. The most vulnerable suffer the worst. One in five children in Congo will die before reaching the age of 5 -- and will do so out of sight of the world, in places that camera crews cannot reach, deep in a vast landscape and concealed under a canopy of bucolic jungle.
It is common in the West to read about African lives in grim statistical terms, so we've become inured to these huge numbers of deaths. Making matters worse, the conflict in Congo is often seen as a hopelessly byzantine African tribal war, encouraging the damning notion that nothing will ever change. This, of course, creates a sense of hopelessness -- and nothing cuts down on humanitarian, foreign and development assistance so much as the jaded diminution of hope. The nation most in need of investment gets the least by the cruel logic that it is the most broken. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that ultimately fosters indifference in the guise of wisdom.
Continue reading his piece here.
Or views images of the Congo from HuffPost Contributor Georgianne Nienaber.
Here is a slideshow of images she took of an internally displaced camp and the story to accompany it.
Here here is her interview with former rebel leader Laurent Nkunda and a slideshow of her photos.
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Image courtesy Georgianne Nienaber