Really people, this has reached such a level of show - offishness that I have and need to speak out. Indeed, I must.
The latest celebrity to dodge the bombos in the Congo is Ben Affleck, a fine actor. I believe he won some lolly as a professional poker player in a tournament in Las Vegas.
The late Nicolas Dandolos, otherwise known as Nick the Greek would have been amused. Not impressed about the poker exploits because Nick the Greek loved the pursuit of Knowledge and Wisdom. I think he had a command of five languages if not eight. Banks and financial syndicates bankrolled Nick's games. He played for millions when the American dollar was King of the world.
Back to Ben Affleck. He is only part of a continuing flow of celebrities who visit the poor in areas well planned and selected for them by their handlers. I may be wrong but the first such person may have been actor and comedian Danny Kaye. He did the entertaining- the- poor stint dressed in tails. True I have seldom seen anyone who wore tails with such eclat, other than Fred Astaire and Cary Grant. Kaye conducted an orchestra under the swaying branches of an acacia or a baobab tree. How did this help the poor I could not say.
My late Italian husband was Vice President for Unicef Italia. I was then spin Dottoressa for Gucci throughout the world. We usually sponsored our own events and never the twain met.I was involved with Amnesty International which really went out on fragile limbs to make a dent in Human rights and Medecins Sans Frontieres - Doctors without Borders. Those chaps are true Heroes.
All of Africa is in flames but the Congo is the heart of Africa, hence the ravagers have singled out the Congo with particular savagery and barbarism. It will never stop. The Congo is the richest country in the planet. The wealth is in the hands of international financiers and multinational corporations that will never, never, never give up their strangle hold on the Congo.
I cannot pretend to know what is in the heart of an Actor of both sexes. Surely Ben Affleck must know that the Congo is super rich while most of its inhabitants most of which are children are destitute and desperate. I think it would be a mistake to call them poor. They are worse than poor if such a thing exists. They are slaves of the never ending rich companies who have no hearts, souls or compassion.
Affleck's television report for ABC network television, please correct me if I am wrong, will be well meaning babble. Get reaL Man. The television audience will never be in a position to change a single leaf from the Congo's vast dwindling rain forest. Horrors! Are you proposing to re- educate child soldiers, assassins, sharps shooters, prostitutes, drug dealers, gem dealers, arms smugglers, traffickers in body parts and slave dealers of their fellow children? It will never work. Unless...I repeat, unless you have the palle fumanti - flaming balls to challenge those directly responsible for the Congo's plight. You have a talented and lovely wife and a child. Don't fight battles you cannot win. These are not windmills.
Some aristocratic Belgian families are still reaping incredibly handsome profits from their operations in the Congo which begun 200 years ago. King Leopold II's brutality towards the people of the Congo must surely rank as one of the most horrendous acts of cruelty of man towards his fellowmen and his brothers under God. Yet all we hear and read about is the suffering of human beings under Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
Joseph Conrad's villain Kurtz in his novella about the then Belgian Congo "Heart of Darkness" gasps '"The horror, the horror."
Why single out the Belgians? That is most unfair and unjust of me. The Anglo-Americans are probably the biggest Exploiters, but then the French are no slouches either. The Dutch could teach them all a thing or two. The biggest diamond trading company in Kinshasa is Israeli. The list is endless. Everybody who is anybody in the exploiting business is present in the Congo. Even some of the aid agencies are engaged in the buying and selling of babies and children. Some use the children as fences for their illicit diamonds and drugs.
These angels and sparrows as the homeless and hunted children of the Congo are known, have seen nothing but death, deprivation, sorrow and despair. And Yes! Holocaust after Holocaust for centuries. The Congolese angels are in the millions.
Please read an article I published on this blog last January entitled " Why The Congo Matters."
I have written a book about the Congo and its children and its people . It is currently with a publisher. I have written a black story in the sense that its protagonists are a black woman and an African-American Doctor from Medecins sans Frontieres. The supporting cast are the angels and the sparrows. This was long before the Congo was "in fashion" so to speak. Before the minions of Hollywood ran out of countries to pose in, photograph, publicize and feature in endless tabloids and television shows about entertainment and show-business.
A word about gorgeous George Clooney and his trip to Darfur. The civil war has been going on for at least 15 years. Darfur has oil. The chaps who own the oil empires are not going to allow the "silly" natives of Southern Sudan to break away. I mean, How dare they blather about independence when they are swimming in OUR oil?
Enter the Janjiweed. In Arabic it means men on.horses. It makes for good fodder for the international media because the Janjiweed are Muslims while the massacred people of Darfur are Christian - Catholics. Don't you get it? The janjiweed are mercenaries in the services of the Oil Robber Barons. Their Paymasters are not Muslims. They are so called Christians and men of the Bible. Whose Bible? Does anyone know?
I think these actors and actresses mean well. Actors are insecure people. Pirandello and Brecht said most performers had no inner identity which is why they turned to acting. Spencer Tracy, an actor's actor, often said it was a dishonorable profession. I would not go so far. I do think that they are overpaid for what they are called upon to do.
Some Roman Senators opined that the gladiators received untold and undeserved wealth for their violent deeds - maiming their opponents. The killings came much later when the hundred thousand people in the Coliseum demanded Death for the Losers. By that time the Emperors depended on the goodwill and on the bribes they gave their Generals and Praetorian Guards, so they bowed to the inevitable to hold on even for just one more day to their Power.
That is how the famous ancient Latin statement came about,"Panem et Circensis." Bread and Circus.
So long as there are human calamities we are going to have these unwitting but willing dupes called Actors flying to be photographed and "Help" the unfortunate. They cannot be helped. Their Masters do not want these poorest of the poorest to be helped in any way. It goes against the vested interests of the West. Get real.
What can we do? Nothing except pray. Public indignation will not work because the plight of the world masses is too desperate for them to do anything concrete which would change anything.
The middle class is vanishing and rapidly finding itself homeless so we cannot expect indignation at the situation of others when they themselves are living in their cars or in caves.
The rich as a rule don't give a toss. Why should they? Bloody hell! They own important shares in oil, mining, armaments, logging, pharmaceutical, precious metals, gems and even in the prostitution and pornography companies. They cry when they lose a few cents on their shares, but for human beings and black ones at that, I would not put my hand in the fire.
The Congolese themselves will rise up one day and take over their country.
I will never forget the incident in one of the market places of Kinshasa not so long ago. The individual who was tasked by the government to look after me gave a dollar bill to a girl whose legs had been blown off by a cluster bomb and whose face, neck and arms bore the pink scars of phosphorus.
He was Special Forces and a white man of course. They are mostly insensitive clods.
"Take your blood money you stupid jackal. What do you think a dollar will do? You are sentencing me to death. I cannot share it with the thousands of sparrows here in the market. We make more than that in a day in our various rackets. Get out of here before a seven year old sniper blows off your ugly head."