Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Affleck vs Kristof — who’s better?

Posted: December 6, 2010 by brfrese in Abuse, Africa, Celebrity, Independence, War

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about Ben Affleck and his involvement with the UN Refugee Agency (the UNHCR) and their campaign to bring shelter to refugees. He is particularly involved in the Congo, and his methods involve using his celebrity  as a means to granting unheard individuals a voice. Let me give you a quick refresher on what he does —

In our Comm 410 class, we have learned about a man named Nicholas Kristof who is a reporter for the New York Times. His articles and videos are created in the same manner as the ones I previously posted about Ben Affleck — they pick and individual to learn about their story. Kristof is notorious for doing many, many interviews, but picking the best individual, true story and using that to create his messages. He feels that the American people attach to one person, one story, better than they do to groups of people (we are desensitized).  Here are a few pieces of his work:

And an article here.

So, seeing as how Kristof would be categorized as a popular and effective writer, yet not a celebrity, I am curious as to how you feel. Which member of our society, who focuses on an individual to tell their story and offer them a voice, is more effective? Granted they have used different mediums (Affleck his fame and a TV appearance on ABC, and Kristof his educated and informed following through the New York Times), but I still feel their methods are similar. If I had to pick who I think has the greater impact, it would be Kristof. I pick him because he is more consistent with his involvement (yes, I know it is his job, but that makes  his work more legitimate), and consistency yields results.

However, I want to know what you think, so fill out the poll below!


This is a short clip from a video that represents and organization Affleck has been working with.

While Ben Affleck might be known in the U.S. as part of “Benifer,” or for his roles in movies such as “Pearl Harbor” and most recently “The Town,” he is making a splash in foreign nations as well. Only in Africa, and more specifically in Congo, he’s known for bringing a voice to the people, and working to support the UNHCR (UN Refuge Agency). He uses his celebrity status to bring awareness to individuals who go unheard — he interviews the locals and brings their stories to light domestically and abroad.  For example, check out this video where he interviewed a women who was both raped and burned, but was determined to share her story.

When you watch it, click to the time mark of 3:03 to get some background on the women he speaks to.

Affleck’s involvement isn’t just a gimmick — he doesn’t just throw money at the problem and leave. He is bringing a voice to the people who wouldn’t have one otherwise. His cause is admirable, and I hope he continues to bring awareness to a situation often uncovered in our media.

Earlier this month, George Clooney and John Prendergast traveled to Southern Sudan for their charity Not On Our Watch. As the duo attempts to stop what could be the next Darfur, they look to their fellow Americans for help.

Tensions continue to rise between Northern and Southern Sudan as the Jan. 9, 2011 vote for Southern Sudan’s independence approaches. However, Clooney and Predergast preach that if we reach out to Obama through letters and email showing support for international pressure and robust diplomacy, we have the opportunity to stop this war before it starts and ultimately save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

“The international community was late to Darfur. Late to the Congo. Late to Rwanda. Late to Bosnia. Tell our President that the people of South Sudan can’t afford for us to be late again.”