The words of people who lost loved ones in DR Congo due to the conflict/war caused by savage terrorist Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian militants. Even though the war officially ended in 2003 Rwandan and Ugandan militants who are connected to their government still continue to ravage Eastern DR Congo with the help of their governments (and also the a number of countries in the West and Asia)
I strongly suggest that everyone watches this movie to find out how SOCO are exploiting both humans and non-humans for oil.
130 rangers were killed trying to protect the animals in the park. And there are only 800 mountain gorillas left in the world ( probably less now) “Every war in the last 20 years in eastern Congo has started in or around the Virunga national park. It is the incredibly rich resources in the park which has attracted the armed groups and which has led to the death of six million innocent people."
Laughter and exuberant applause erupts from the congregation at a Sunday morning service in Goma, D.R.Congo. The pastor, who normally preaches in Swahili, has just told a Bible story in the congregation’s mother tongue, Nyanga (Kinyanga) by Alan Hood
“I’ve Never Seen Women So Brave”: How Ben Affleck Is Fighting for Women in the Congo
Ben Affleck is Batman, and he may also be the strongest supporter the women of the Congo have ever had. Glamour’s Genevieve Roth traveled to Africa to get their story—and his.
village called Kibati, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, stands a
brown single-room building. Inside, a cluster of men and women sit on
benches in a circle. One by one women stand up and speak. Their voices
are strong. Every now and then a joke is made and people laugh. Some
women cry as they talk and hold one another. A man speaks angrily as he
punches his fist into his hand. Children hide behind the legs of their
mothers or sit on their laps. Babies nurse and then are passed off to
fathers to sleep. Eventually, horrifically, the purpose of this
gathering becomes clear: Every woman in this room has been raped. Every one. Even the ones that don’t come up to my waist.
are girls here who can’t be six years old, and only slightly older ones
carrying children of their own, on their backs and inside their
bellies, some at the same time. They share their stories:
was walking for water at night when I met a man, and he dragged me into
the woods and raped me. My parents wouldn’t let me back into the house
“At first I tried not to tell anyone what happened, but then I realized I was pregnant, and I had to tell.”
“I have to see my rapist every day. I feel haunted by him. I know he could come back into my house at any time.”
shocking as it is to be in this room, the stories of these women are
anything but unusual. The Congo has endured decades of civil unrest and
instability; it has been called the rape capital of the world. More than
1,000 women are sexually violated here every day. Much of this violence
is the result of 20 years of wars in which rape was used as a weapon,
to traumatize women and to destabilize communities. So, no, what’s
astonishing here isn’t the large collection of rape survivors in one
place; it’s that these women have the courage to tell their stories—and
to seek justice. This is a local chapter of Dynamique des Femmes
Juristes, a grassroots organization that helps survivors prosecute the
perpetrators. The testimony these women give today may help put their
rapists in jail. Ten, even five years ago, that kind of retribution
would have been unthinkable. But through the work of this organization
alone, more than 125 women’s cases were brought to court last year.
And the person who helped make it possible? Ben Affleck.
Yes, that Ben Affleck. The same guy headlining the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
blockbuster. The same guy who made every tabloid cover when his 10-year
marriage to Jennifer Garner ended last summer. But before all that,
Affleck wanted to start something—something good. And that something
endures every day here in the Congo.
About 10 years ago, Affleck was a new father (Violet was just a baby), with some major movies (Good Will
Hunting, Armageddon) in his rearview mirror but nothing
hugely professionally exciting on the horizon. “I felt like I was always
chasing the next job, singing for my supper,” Affleck says. “I didn’t
feel like I had anything that I could point to and say—and I know this
is a cliché—‘I gave back; here are the footprints I left in the sand.’”
Around that time Affleck read Philip Gourevitch’s book about the genocide in Rwanda, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families.
Moved, he began to learn more about the mid-1990s conflict and how it
had led more than a million refugees to flee Rwanda for the Congo,
triggering more tribal conflicts and a series of epic wars. Children
were turned into soldiers and forced to kill one another and their own
families. Sexual violence was rampant, with women raped and cast out of
their communities in disgrace. By the time Affleck learned about the
situation, three and a half million people had died. “And it was still
happening,” he says. “And I didn’t know about it, and almost nobody in
America knew about it.”
in 2007 Affleck went on a fact-finding trip to some of the most
conflict-ravaged regions of Africa, including Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya, and
finally the Congo. “This was when there was still a lot of fighting and
it was still a little bit scary—I expected to see people hiding under
couches, metaphorically,” says Affleck. “But what I saw was people
trying to work and keep their families upright. After the child soldiers
and the sexual violence and the not-good-enough hospitals and
not-good-enough anything, they were rising. I was blown away by that.”
their stories were unforgettable. “I sat with a woman who had been
raped multiple times before she was 12,” he says. “She said this to me
like she was reciting a grocery list—like it was nothing at all. Can you
imagine?” Affleck pauses. “I have daughters,” he says. “Ones I fully
intend to keep away from all boys until they are 25, by the way. How can
something like this not burn itself into my brain forever? How can we
not do everything we can?” So he decided not to be just another guy who
learned a terrible thing and moved on.
the flight back to Los Angeles, Affleck and philanthropic consultant
Whitney Williams had the first of many conversations that would
eventually lead to the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI). The concept was
simple: Create an organization that empowers Congolese people to rebuild
their nation. “We thought, Why don’t we work with the people who
actually know the militia or who have children who have been taken by
them?” says Affleck. “And who know where the women are who have been
ostracized by their villages because they were raped—why don’t we work
directly with those people?”
nine years after that trip, with the help of Williams (who would become
his cofounder), Affleck’s footprints are now all over the country; ECI
has funded more than 90 projects, in everything from farming
cooperatives to vocational training. But Affleck has taken a particular
interest in helping women. “The Congo has trillions of dollars in
mineral wealth and enough arable land to feed a third of the world,”
says Affleck. “But I have come to believe that the most precious
resource in the country is its women. Congolese women are
incredible—what they have been through? Forget it. I’d never survive it.
Nothing puts my own life and circumstances into perspective like the
lessons I learn from them.” ECI’s impact is growing: The foundation has
funded programs that have improved health care for more than 23,000
women, have helped bring 600 gender-based violence cases to court, and
trained more than 50 female journalists last year alone. “I think ECI is
putting its money where its mouth is,” says renowned human rights
activist John Prendergast. “There is lots of rhetoric about the
importance of empowering women…[but] ECI provides critical resources to
groups that are leading the transformation of Congolese society.”
and Williams now work with a team of 10, most of whom are based in the
Congo. In the United States ECI promotes the potential of the region
through creative projects and good old-fashioned diplomacy—Affleck
himself has testified at congressional hearings four times. “People can
have this view about Africa—that it is people lying around with flies in
their eyes and distended bellies,” says Affleck. “But that’s just not
true. These people want not only to live but to thrive and to succeed.”
And that is what ECI is helping them do. “This isn’t sexy work. It’s
really hard and long-term,” says Prendergast. “But it was pretty clear
from the outset that Ben and Whitney were in it for the long haul…. I
think as the Congo turns a corner in the coming years to a peaceful,
democratic future, ECI will have been a major contributor.” Adds Dr.
Denis Mukwege, founder of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu: “Ben Affleck is
helping Congolese women know their rights and fight for them. … He knows
what should be done and what you have to work hard on. It’s not
surface; it’s deep.”
the justice center we travel to Goma, the capital of the North Kivu
province, to visit AFEM, an organization supported by ECI that trains
women journalists. The road is bustling with cars and livestock and men
and women on wooden scooters called chukudus. We pass children
playing with toys made from tin cans (an airplane, a guitar) and women
selling everything from fruit to clothing to a pile of tiny, brightly
colored coffins (I am told that there used to be many more coffins for
sale, when things were worse). When we arrive at the office, I meet
AFEM’s Goma program manager, an intense young woman named Douce. “For a
long time bad things were happening in the villages, but nobody knew
about it,” she says. “The reporters were men, and they didn’t report on
women’s issues or sexual violence.” With the help of ECI funding, AFEM
now operates all over the region and just launched its own radio
station. During our visit, Douce asks me, “What is it like to be a woman
in America? Do women get raped there too?” Yes, I tell her. They do.
But now women in the Congo can do what women in the United States do:
share their stories.
For the women of AFEM and elsewhere in the Congo, to have a guy on their side behind all of this matters.
“It sends an important signal when men stand up on behalf of the rights
of women and girls,” says Rachel Vogelstein, director of the women and
foreign policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Male role
models can make all the difference in changing harmful cultural norms.”
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations under-secretary-general and
executive director of U.N. Women, agrees: “We wouldn’t be where we are
today if it weren’t for the passion, drive, and determination of all the
women activists through history. But to go as far as we want, to full
gender equality, that’s going to take the combined energy and will of both men and women.”
Congo is a complicated place, and the work undertaken by ECI won’t be
finished quickly, but Affleck, Williams, and the team at ECI aren’t
discouraged. In recent years the Congo has become one of the
fastest-growing economies in the world. “It is as simple as this: When
there are pockets of peace, commerce thrives,” says Affleck. “I used to
come home daunted by all we had to do. The contrast between Congo and my
everyday life can be jarring. But now I see how similar we all are.…
It’s not true that we can’t help change things. We can.” He pauses.
“These women are such badasses. With a little help, there will be no stopping them.”
Genevieve Roth is Glamour’s senior special projects director.
Want to Help the Most Resilient Women on Earth? Here’s how.
Donate: Ten dollars to the Eastern Congo Initiative (easterncongo.org) helps fund the AFEM radio program and Dynamique des Femmes Juristes as well as maternal health care and school programs. Snack: You were going to buy chocolate anyhow, right? Seattle-based Theo’s ECI chocolate bars (theochocolate.com/eci) help support the work of hundreds of Congolese farmers. Sip:
“Congo used to grow tons more coffee,” says Affleck. Now ECI has
partnered with Starbucks to bring Congolese beans to select locations
I can’t believe that after all these years, after two oscars Ben still has to deal with people profiling him and bringing up his past. He has made questionable decisions for his career but it shouldn’t matter because it got him to where he is today.
Ben Affleck is an incredible man, a visionary director, he is a wonderful writer, he is a great actor and he speaks on behalf of minorities, he is trying to help those in Eastern Congo after everything that has happened. The media always fails to see the good in him because they are too busy hating him and running his name through the mud.
Saying that he should be punched in the face for his reaction towards the BVS reviews is a horrible thing to say. How can’t he be afraid of them? Even before he began filming people petitioned for him to be taken off this project, so of course those bad reviews take a toll on him. This whole sadfleck meme is funny up to a point but not when you write an entire article on all his poor decisions & his mistakes.
Ben Affleck did a brilliant job as Batman, he is the greatest Bruce Wayne that we could have ever gotten. He should be proud and I hope the flood of fans sending him positive messages overpower the negative reviews. Also, be reminded that this is a whole new world for him, where comic book films are the greatest thing that you could do in this generation, he has to adjust to all the fans putting their two cents in and it may not always be positive. So we as fans need to tell Ben Affleck that he did an incredible job as Batman.
Ben Affleck is an amazing filmmaker, a loving father, and a wonderful, thoughtful and caring person. He always tries to make a difference in the world by speaking about important issues. Why don’t you write an article on what he’s doing in Congo or how he speaks about Islamophobia? No, you can’t do that because the media hates Ben Affleck and anything he does to help the world and help people is making him a good person.
End of rant.
I personally don’t care if you dislike Ben Affleck, just don’t be an asshole and run his name through the mud.