Affleck in Congo… Again

Well, it appears that all the Congo travelin’ Mr. Affleck has been doing has resulted in the video I’ve embedded below. I agree with what Wronging Rights wrote. It’s like Affleck was scanning the blogosphere just a bit after his whole Nightline thing and saw that people were really annoyed by him popping his mug in to the camera frame so often. In this video, he instead pimps the UNHCR of all things. I’ll get to that a bit later though.
As with his previous attempts, I have to say that Affleck is working to be one of the least annoying celebrities prancing around Congo these days. That being said, he is still a celebrity and still an American. I’m guessing that Ben doesn’t speak French. If he does and I’m wrong, je lui rends hommage. But, I would put money down that he doesn’t. Why you might ask? Because instead of having a single word spoken by the subjects being filmed (despite this shot, Affleck was not the DP) he runs the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” as a soundtrack. Now, that’s a great song and it would seem to be more than fitting given that the UNHCR does indeed give shelter (as well as food, water, basic medical care, and varied degrees of security), but again, it strays in to the gaping void that is Western objectification of a downtrodden people.
America is a damned fine country in that when we set our minds on doing something, we make it happen. I mean, we defeated Nazis, split the atom, went to the moon, outlasted most of Communism, and elected a (sorta) black president. That’s a pretty impressive record despite all the backfires (Great Depression, Nixon, the 80’s). But the reason this worked was because it was “us” doing it. We made it personal. The reason that the problems persist in Congo and we’re still fighting a war in Iraq is because this strife is remote and/or with people we really don’t care about. Affleck’s video unfortunately falls prey to this and while it gives a boost to the UNHCR, it does absolutely nothing for the Congolese in the long term. Why were there no interviews? No personal stories? No perspectives of the actual people? You see how people are looking disdainfully at the cameras in so many of the shots? That’s because they’re freakin’ tired of being zoo animals for the Western media to take pity shots off. I’d be tired of that crap too and I wouldn’t give a damn if Oscar Winner (for screenwriting let’s remember), Ben Affleck was making a five minute pity video about my life, which isn’t really going to net me anything but (hopefully) another cup of rice.
I was wondering when Affleck would get on board and start directing his efforts at a specific agency. With this latest move, he has, but why oh freakin’ why the UNHCR? I mean, I recognize that the UNHCR does a massive job that is so incredibly difficult most folks can’t even comprehend it. Building an emergency city for a fleet of thousands of refugees is absolutely not like building Burning Man. The people coming a refugee camp have nothing and are often sick as opposed to Burners who come in their own cars funded by daddy’s Amex.
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