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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/16/09

Open Letter to Time Magazine on Ben Affleck and Congo

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Regarding Ben Affleck's essay on Congo, the first thing that assaults credibility is his description of the landscape as a "bucolic jungle." Eastern Congo is not a "jungle," it is forested in some areas, and it is certainly not "bucolic."

I beg to differ with Mr. Affleck, as I have just returned from the region as an independent journalist. I have been working in the region since 2004. I also happened to interview CNDP leader Laurent Nkunda a week before his detention by Rwanda. Thank you to the Huffington Post for linking to the report (s) Australian Journalist Helen Thomas and I filed from DRC.

Rwanda's forces did not "flush out" Nkunda. He went willingly to Gisenyi to meet with Kagame's representatives, where they betrayed him, and now have him under house arrest.

I am in regular contact with civilian supporters of the CNDP who are grateful that we posted our unedited interview with Nkunda on YOUTUBE. Congolese refugees in Rwanda are demonstrating for the release of their "leader" Nkunda, but Time Magazine seems to not be reporting that fact.

If Mr. Affleck has compelling testimony from Nkunda, why does he not make it available--for free? The fate of millions of people hangs in the balance now, and they do not have time to wait for Mr. Affleck's Hollywood documentary.

Meanwhile, there has been MORE violence in eastern DRC, as reported by Human Rights Watch, since Nkunda's detention.

I also find it comical to see the photo of Mr. Affleck being "patted down" while his "war correspondent" photographer looks on with his lens.


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Two small women went in with our Nikon and Canon cameras with no problem, no patting down, and no sense of threat. We had dinner with Nkunda after the interview and met with his family.

Of course it is very "Hollywood" to gin up the reality of meeting with Nkunda to enhance the "bravery" of Affleck and his cameraman.

This is not journalism. This is a Hollywood promo--a promotion sanctioned by Time Magazine.

 

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)
 

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