And he said he’d do it with more than just thanks.
“I would kiss George W. Bush on the mouth for what he did on PEPFAR,” he told The Atlantic in an extensive interview about his charity work.
“You know, PEPFAR is an incredible thing just in terms of how many lives it saved,” Damon continued,”These ARVs have a Lazarus effect on people. You see a picture of them before and then you see them vibrant, alive, working. Their whole family has been dragged down by the illness and now this. I went on a trip in 2006 (to Africa) and I just had a sense of national pride going around, talking to these people, and they were so happy, they would say, ‘America,’ and I was saying, ‘Yeah, our president did that, and it’s terrific.’ It’s such an obvious connected thing. People aren’t going to hate you when you’re saving their lives.”
PEPFAR (The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), which Bush advocated and signed into law, has provided AIDS treatment for almost 4 million people. With pregnancy testing and treatment, it has prevented infection in 200,000 newborns. It also fights Tuberculosis and Malaria, things that don’t even enter our consciousness in the first world. It is an incredible program with phenomenal success.
Patheos’s and SixSeeds’s own Tom Walsh travels frequently to Africa on behalf of PEPFAR and blogs at C’est What?
Damon, who works extensively with Water.org, providing water to the world’s poor, cares enough about the world’s poor to educate himself and to cross party lines when credit is due.
Big round of applause, Matt!