This film is titled “Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth” produced by “Friends of the Congo” in 2011 http://congojustice.org/ It is a short 26 minute video documentary version of a feature length film intended for the future. By interviewing many world experts, the film explores the role that the United States, Belgium, Europe, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, other African states, billionaires and multinational corporations seeking wealth - have all played a role in triggering the greatest humanitarian crisis on earth since World War Two, yet few in the world know anything about it. To update the facts of this film – the dead alone in Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi are more than one million more than all wars on earth added together since World War Two. It is horrific genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is the rape capitol of the world. Child soldiers. The greatest theft of the Congo’s resources since Belgium’s Leopold II slaughtered half the population to get it from 1885 to 1908. The Congo is occupied by Rwandans who control the destiny of 81 million Congolese. There is no freedom. There are no human rights in Congo where human lives are worth less than chickens. Enough. The film is a call to conscience and action. Friends of the Congo holds the rights to this film, and authorizes it to be freely distributed, duplicated and screened on the web, in public places, or at home.
Who are these wonderful Congolese we are trying to help? See this CBS “This Morning” interview (click here) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lROK5pu5jxg of the late reporter Bob Simon and famed musician Wynton Marsalis, who discuss these impoverished Congolese who find a way to make music during chaos. “The Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra (OSK) is based in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Having gone through decades of war, the DRC is a fragile country and among one of the poorest in the world. But those challenges have never deterred the 200-member orchestra and choir from playing and composing beautiful classical music.” CBS.
After Bob Simon passed away, the following tribute was aired about him and Congolese. View “Remembering Bob Simon: Joy in the Congo” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kOMccvaTb0 This program earned a prestigious Peabody Award http://www.peabodyawards.com/stories/story/60-minutes-joy-in-the-congo-72nd-award-acceptance
Man cannot live without water for much longer than 3 days. But using “unsafe” deadly water will quickly kill and injure, too. Among 81.3 million Congolese, only about 35 million (43%) live in urban areas, while 46 million (57%) live in rural areas. Of urban dwellers, 6.7 million (19%) obtain water from “unsafe sources,” which is the equivalent of an urban population about the size of Los Angeles and Chicago combined. Congolese are drinking water from unsafe streams, water puddles, and other sources.
Here is a video of a rural DRC woman who contracted “river blindness” by drinking from a nearby river due to no other option (click on video link) https://www.water4.org/2015-end-of-year/?gclid=CJO1mL3butICFZIvgQodQzMH6w Entire families, including children, are victims of unsafe water and ineffective sanitation. Congolese are injured and die needlessly.
28.3 million urban residents either have access to “improved” drinking water from a municipal treated water system, or they buy commercial bottled water - if one can afford to buy a liter of water for $1 in a DRC economy where at least 63% or 52.1 million Congolese live below the poverty line (CIA 2016). Unemployment numbers are as low as 58% to as high as 73%, and those who do work only earn on average one dollar U.S. a day. Affording water is a problemeven if one has access. See https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html and https://thewaterproject.org/water-crisis/water-in-crisis-congo
The rural problem where most people live is worse. Based on CIA statistics, 38.7 million Congolese 6.7 million urban and 32 million rural) do not have “safe” drinking water sources. That’s the entire population of California or 4.6 times the population of New York City! Thus, this population is in constant danger of water borne diseases, illnesses, and death that would be avoidable by using safe water and effective sanitation. However, a report by the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) states that more like 50 million Congolese are without safe water.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that an improved drinking-water source is defined as “one that, by nature of its construction or through active intervention, is likely to be protected from outside contamination, in particular from contamination with fecal matter.” https://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/
Providing safe water and effective sanitation are basic responsibilities of competent government. Where governments fail to provide this essential for life, there is a role for non-government organizations (NGO non-profit charities). They have technical solutions, if necessary funding was in place and there was a commitment by government to permit implementation, and if nonprofits are permitted to implement such programs absent of corruption that robs the intent of the program. A few nonprofits interested in this issue, besides Congo Freedom Alliance, are: “Water” backed by the actor Matt Damon http://water.org/ and view video interview (click on video link) http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/matt-damon-and-gary-whiteon-worldwide-initiative-for-clean-water/ and see http://haute-giving.com/?p=2573 and see “The Water Project” https://thewaterproject.org/?gclid=CK_flZ3RutICFUw6gQodwpELTw
The lack of safe water and good sanitation is caused by government incompetence, as the DRC is blessed by resource wealth equal to the GDPs of the USA, France, Great Britain, and Germany combined. While some Congolese and foreigners have become wealthy by exploiting these valuables, the Congolese people are rated at the bottom of the world’s poor, along with two other countries. Tragic. Why? Among 196 countries, the DRC government, responsible for causing the nationwide violence for more than a generation, is rated among a group of 19 of the most corrupt governments on earth, http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016 The DRC government is ranked among top 8 “Failed State” dictatorships on earth http://fsi.fundforpeace.org Thus, we should not expect a different outcome from bad corrupt management.
CIA World Fact Book DR Congo https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html
United Kingdom DR Congo travel warning https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel- advice/democratic-republic-of- the-congo
US State Department Bureau of African Affairs https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/189469.htm
US State Department https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2823.htm
US State Department DR Congo travel warning https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/democratic-republic- of-the- congo-travel-warning.html
Several books one should read to understand both the history of the DR Congo, as well as current events.
1) Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost: A story of greed, terror, and heroism in Colonial Africa. New York: Mariner Books, 1999. See https://www.amazon.com/King-Leopolds- Ghost-Heroism-Colonial/dp/0618001905
2) Stearns, Jason. Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa. New York: Public Affairs/Perseus Books, 2011. See https://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Glory- Monsters-Collapse-Africa/dp/1610391071/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_2/146-7933378-4491020?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=3M5AWX68HPDX792GNRSX
ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/topics/news/democratic-republic-of-the-congo.htm
Aljazeera Democratic Republic of Congo News http://www.aljazeera.com/topics/country/posting_under_country.html
All Africa French http://fr.allafrica.com/congo_kinshasa/ and English http://allafrica.com/congo_kinshasa/
BBC DR Congo history timeline http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13286306
BBC DR Congo profile http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13283212
Euro News http://www.euronews.com/tag/dr-congo
France 24 http://www.france24.com/en/tag/dr-congo/
News 24 http://www.news24.com/Tags/Places/drc
New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/topic/destination/congo
Radio Okapi http://www.radiookapi.net/
Reuters News http://www.reuters.com/places/congo
SABC South Africa http://www.sabc.co.za/wps/portal/news/main/tag?tag=DR%20Congo
Transparency International Corruption Index http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016#table
United Kingdom’s The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/congo
United Kingdom’s The Telegraph ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/democratic-republic-of-congo/
Voice of America Africa news http://www.voanews.com/p/5749.html
Amnesty International provides an excellent overview of problems in the Congo
Congo Planet in both French and English http://www.congoplanet.com/
Congo Vision http://www.congovision.com/
Donor Direct Action
Friends of the Congo http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/news/news.html
Human Rights Watch https://www.hrw.org/africa/democratic-republic-congo
International Rescue Committee https://www.rescue.org/country/democratic-republic-congo
Peace Direct https://www.peacedirect.org/us/where-we-work/dr-congo/