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Ben Affleck is joining the ranks of celebrities who endorse the viral “Stop Kony” video, which has raised massive awareness of ruthless Ugandan LRA Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
“Joseph Kony has been one of the most infamous and most wanted men in Africa for decades,” the actor and activist wrote on the website for his humanitarian organization, Eastern Congo Initiative. “His vicious cruelty has caused untold pain over the last twenty years. Because of Invisible Children, a hundred million more people in North America now know his story.”
Affleck continued: “Joseph Kony must be caught. His lieutenants must be brought to justice and the LRA abductees still in the bush – fighting against their will – must be rescued and rehabilitated.”
The 30-minute “Stop Kony” web documentary — also endorsed by Angelina Jolie, Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift, among others — was filmed by Jason Russell, who compared the situation of his son, Jacob, to that of the child soldiers in Uganda forced to fight in the country’s civil war.
Critics claim the video, launched by the Africa-based Invisible Children, promotes the corrupt Ugandan government, which has continued using child soldiers following Kony’s 2006 exodus. Addressing the claims, the charity said that “the only feasible and proper way to stop Kony and protect the civilians he targets is to coordinate efforts with regional governments.”
Earlier this month, Don Cheadle weighed in on Twitter, writing: “we need to be wary of traditionally paternalistic attitudes toward other nations and make sure we are acting as ‘helpers’ not encroachers.”
Meanwhile, the war criminal Kony has turned his attention to the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Westerners are not and will never be the ‘saviors’ of Africa,” Affleck wrote. “That idea has been tried and found wanting. It is ineffectual at best and deadly at worst. The organization I founded [Eastern Congo Initiative] funds Congolese-led organizations that rescue child soldiers from the bush and provides them with education, medical assistance, job training, and counseling.”
Affleck said he traveled last month to northeastern Congo, where the LRA remains a destructive presence; in 2008, the army’s “Christmas massacre” claimed 400 lives and cast out 20,000 refugees.
“We support the work being done by highly capable and determined Congolese, to make their communities a better place,” he said.
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