From Ben Affleck and George Clooney to Madonna and Bono: A scorecard for celebrities in Africa

GlobalPost
Nairobi, Kenya

This Wednesday, Ben Affleck testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as an expert on Africa. Yes, Ben Affleck: actor-director Ben Affleck, Argo Ben Affleck and, lest we forget, J-Lo Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck, whose tuxedo stands a decent chance of being analyzed on live television during the Oscars this Sunday. He was invited to guide American lawmakers on their policy toward the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ridiculous, right? Actually, no. Affleck has been involved in eastern Congo for years now. In 2010, he set up an organization called the Eastern Congo Initiative after making repeated visits to the region. It raises money and funnels it to local civil society organizations. Affleck’s commitment and sustained engagement means that if you’re looking for an advocate who has some clue about what’s actually going on and doesn’t need to take his lines from a teleprompter, you could do a whole lot worse. Continue reading From Ben Affleck and George Clooney to Madonna and Bono: A scorecard for celebrities in Africa

Why Peter Greste’s imprisonment is everyone’s problem

GlobalPost
Nairobi, Kenya

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetJournalist Peter Greste, along with several of his colleagues, has been detained in Egypt since Dec. 29. He was arrested for being a journalist. He is accused of terrorism. And he has been held in solitary confinement at Cairo’s Tora Prison for over a month, allowed out for just four hours a day.

Greste is East Africa correspondent for Al Jazeera. He lives and works in Nairobi, which is why we held a protest here Tuesday: He is a friend, a colleague and daunting competition to many of us. Continue reading Why Peter Greste’s imprisonment is everyone’s problem