February 14th, 2009
12:54 PM ET

Ben Affleck on the conflict in the Congo

Editor's Note: Here's an update on a story we've covered over the years - the conflict in the Congo. It is the deadliest conflict since World War II. After years of war, and the resulting spread of malnutrition and disease, more than five million people have died. But now, with the arrest of a powerful warlord, and renewed efforts to wipe out other rebel groups, there is a glimmer of hope. Actor and activist Ben Affleck has traveled to Congo a number of times in the past two years. In the latest edition of Time magazine, he writes about what he's seen.

Anderson Cooper talks with Ben Affleck about his recent work in Congo.

Filed under: 360º Follow • Global 360°
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Emma

    I am happy to see that Americans (newspersons and actors) are talking about Africa: at least things will happen ...
    But you can also probably ask and answer to the question: "why ?" It seems to me that he only African countries which are (or were) in war are the one which ritches that can be traded (oil, diamonds, precious wood ...), what are the interests behind? Do warlords and dictators just come from no where?

    February 16, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  2. Luis

    Can we get the homeless off the streets here in the U.S.A. first.

    What do you wants us to do Affleck? Politely tell them to stop the fighting?

    Your right Affleck, we should start minding our own business. Isn't that what you said? Or doest not apply here?

    February 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  3. EJ (USA)

    It is worth emphasizing that the woman who was raped wanted her picture taken to help others, not herself. At great risk, she chose to have her picture printed to give other women who had suffered the atrocities of rape the courage to come forward and tell their stories. While it is noteworthy when a person survives an adversity, it is truly inspiring when someone survives with dignity, compassion, and heroism.

    Well said – That picture is so sad though. It makes one feel helpless on what they can do. She is very brave. I don't think I could live through anything like that.

    February 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  4. Gail Ellis Duncan

    When will wake up and realize that we live in a global world and when one suffers, we all suffer? This includes our planet as well. Ben, I call you one of the purple people, purple being the color of spiritlization. This is such a wake up call for us all....causing us to look at things in a new light....no...with light for we can not continue to walk in darknest and ignore our brother/sister any longer. Take away the color issue, social status and look beyond to the heart of the matter which takes trying to walk in someone else's shoe if only within the mind. We must come together and work together.

    February 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  5. Isabell

    It is worth emphasizing that the woman who was raped wanted her picture taken to help others, not herself. At great risk, she chose to have her picture printed to give other women who had suffered the atrocities of rape the courage to come forward and tell their stories. While it is noteworthy when a person survives an adversity, it is truly inspiring when someone survives with dignity, compassion, and heroism.

    February 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  6. who are u kidding

    Why doesnt someone go to palestine to witness the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians who are forced by Israelis to live in a open air prison, a concentration camp, if you will. The mainstream media doesnt want the world to know and see how Israel used white phosphorus on civilians taking refuge in UN buildings. How the bodies of little children were found with bullets in tiny chests. "Raw Honest reporting", who are you kidding? You guys are nothing but cheerleaders for Israel. Why dont you all slip in cheerleading costumes and while you're at it get some pom poms too. After all whats a cheeleading show without the pom poms....

    February 15, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  7. Bill Skeat -- Athens, WV

    Terrible, terrible things have happened and continue to happen in Africa. And guess what? Tomorrow, 5-10-15 years from now we'll still be reading about terrible things happening in Africa. Why is this? Well, look what happened in Zimbabwe with it's leader Mugabe destroying the entire country (he still is in power -even though he is supposed to be sharing) and the world allowed him to do this. Until world leaders decide to not let this happen, Africa will continue to be Africa and it won't be pretty.

    February 15, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  8. Dulcie - Denver

    Thanks for the great interview with Ben Affleck. Sometimes celebrities go to areas like this and it just feels like it's a vehicle for self-promotion. Mr. Affleck however, seems very well-informed and invested in the issue which I know is one close to your heart, as well.

    I was encouraged that so many of the Congalese are surviving and working to rebuild their society from within. They are an essential part of a lasting peace in the region. I think it's been seen time and time again, that simply coming in from the outside and trying to dictate terms doesn't work very well. Knowing that the African people are committed to surviving is very encouraging.

    February 15, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  9. Michael, Encinitas CA

    Yes, I'm very saddened about what's happening to people in Congo, and Rwanda, Sudan, Chad... and I really wish there was more we could do to help. Why is it, though, that we spend so much of our time and money cleaning up messes that Europeans create? The French colonized Congo, raped the country of its valuable natural resources, and then abandoned its people. We've tolerated and fixed failed European policies for centuries. The Europeans brought slavery to America, started WWI and WWII, and we can link almost every current conflict, especially African conflicts, to wanton European imperialism. We accepted financial responsibility for much of the damage we caused on foreign soil, even when the damage we inflicted was in response to aggression. For example, we rebuilt Germany and paid reparations to Japan. I support everything we do in Africa and would advocate for more aid. When will we demand that European governments admit their role in creating the problems in Africa and begin to pay more for the damages they've inflicted on those beautiful and now deprived cultures?

    February 15, 2009 at 4:06 am |
  10. Ruth

    I wonder if he has travelled along with "Sidney Bristow"?
    Seriously though, it has gone on for far too long. Millions have lost their lives. Why is this continuously ignorred? ~sigh~

    February 15, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  11. Julia Jago

    This is such a under reported story in the media for being something of this magnitude. I heard about this a long time ago, and at that time it'd been going on for 6 years..It's an atrocity whats happening over there. It's nice to see a celebrity take the initiative and get the word out. I hope to see more about it in the future.

    February 15, 2009 at 1:02 am |
  12. Eileen Conaghan

    Please continue to run these stories on the Congo. After returning last week from a trip there, I realize that so many people have no idea what is going on in this war torn country.

    February 14, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  13. Gloria, Brooklyn, Ny

    People do things to other people because they think other people don't care or matter, but we do care and we do matter. We care about everybodies well being on this earth. We can't just sit back and watch bad things happen to people. Where is the blessing in that? We have to reach out and show love across the countries because we all care and they do matter.

    February 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  14. Isabell

    Abraham Lincoln once said, “All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind.” Anderson, each time you report on the marginalized, the forgotten, you plant a flower of truth and remove a thistle of ignorance within our minds.

    February 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  15. Deena

    Thank you CNN and Anderson for putting this forward. I appreciate your efforts to periodically remind us of how lucky we are to live in a country that does not have this horror. The people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are survivors and they teach us alot about what human beings can rise above to achieve success or even just survive. I have been doing personal research on this part of the world and actually started to watch CNN and your program because you covered this area with a special you and National Geographics and Gupta participated in about our world and its challenges. Thank you for keeping this fresh and for reminding us we fail to recognize how good we have it, until we find out how bad it is for our neighbors and our friends. Ben Affleck is one special human being for taking his personal time to advocate for this country and its people. God Bless him. dg

    February 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  16. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson
    I blogged you few hours ago,but i am not on the list,any way.but its importent for me to thank you and Ben for your supporting africa and the people,who have to life there.we have to pretect them.i read about the raped women in jour book,Anderson,and it makes me cry.

    February 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Sam M., Ewa Beach, HI

    I think its great when celebrities go out and try to educate the public. It almost makes up for the Hiltons and Lohans etc. etc.

    February 14, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  18. Cherisa

    Good interview on a serious topic. Why are the segments on Africa aired during the second hour, not live? It seems to me they would have a greater influence and reach a larger audience during the first hour.

    Anderson is to be presented next week with an award for his reporting in Africa. It sure would be nice to see more of it. The impact of his work far outweighs any budget concerns.

    February 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  19. Joanne Gilbert

    I am so glad you ran this story. The horrors in the Congo need attention. These women are speaking out after a terrible ordeal.The least we can do is listen. Kudos to Ben Affleck for going and bringing this subject to light.

    February 14, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  20. Mary Brown

    It kills me that these celebs have to go to another country to do their "good works" when there are people suffering right here at home.
    The aftermath of Katrina is a good example – these people still not able to go home. The whole situation with Katrina is unconsciounable aalthough understandable under Bush who always preferred to spend money making war and let his own country go to the dogs.

    February 14, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  21. Women Matters Rug Art

    Hi Anderson,

    It is so good to see that more people are becoming aware of the atrocities in the Congo and for us especially, the women!! This was brought to our attention a year ago when you did a segment for 60 Minutes and I am sure that you are aware that Dr. Mukwege has been named "African of the Year" – we need more "heroes" like him in this world. We are not celebrities but please do go to womenmattersrugart.blogspot.com and see what we are trying to do for some of these women. We need help to get our voice out there as well as we try to raise awareness and our desire to be able to help some of these women maintain their strength to carry on despite the horror that surrounds them.

    Thank you

    Women Matters

    February 14, 2009 at 9:25 am |