"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

6.26.2008

congo watch

From our friends at Heal Africa, there's news that tonight's episode of Nightline will feature the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the information-gathering that actor Ben Affleck has been doing there. A good bit of filming happened at Heal Africa Hospital, where I've spent a lot of time during research for my dissertation, and there will be a feature on Marta, above, one of the survivors at the hospital. Marta was raped and burned by members of one of the many militias operating in the region.

You can check out a preview of the show here and read an essay on the subject by Affleck here.

I'm always hesitant about the parade of celebrities who come traipsing through the region, get a few pictures, and leave with a nice story to take back to Hollywood cocktail parties, but from what I've heard, it sounds like Affleck has really done his research on three trips to the region. At any rate, it's never a bad thing for more attention to be drawn to this crisis, which, as of last count, has killed 5.2 million people and left 2 of 3 women as rape victims in some parts of the east.

I'll be writing more extensively about the rape crisis in the DRC next Wednesday for the 40 Day Fast; in the meantime, check out my article on practical ways to help Congolese women and girls who are victims of these horrible crimes. And don't miss Nightline tonight.

Photo: Max Culhane, ABC News

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