- (PHOTO:REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
Actor Ben Affleck has challenged President Obama to do more to help those in the Congo. Affleck appeared on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to discuss his charity's work in the region and what the United States can do to help.
"There's a huge amount that the U.S. can do, frankly. I mean, we have a lot of levers there. We can engage in the kind of high-level, shuttle diplomacy that you saw be so effective in Gaza," Affleck stated.
He was referring to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trip to Egypt, where she helped enact a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine. Affleck has worked with the Eastern Congo Initiative, a foundation he helped establish to work for the benefit of those 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 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," he added.
The Congo has been torn apart by civil violence; Uganda and Rwanda are both supporting the rebels fighting against President Joseph Kabila. Unfortunately, many have been caught in the crossfire and died as a result of the in-country fighting. Congolese army soldiers constantly loot homes of residents, according to the Associated Press.
Affleck's organization is working to provide housing, food, supplies and education to those left without anything. He issued a challenge to President Obama:
"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.
"I think this is critical," the actor continued. "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."