Sunday, February 03, 2013

From The ATA Archives: Anderson Cooper in The Democratic Republic of The Congo, October 2006, Part 3

It's October 4th, 2006 and Anderson Cooper is in  Rutshuru, Congo and began AC360 with ~

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone. ...Tonight, we are live from the broken heart of Africa, covering two devastating humanitarian crises, Darfur and what is happening here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than three million people have been killed here in the last eight years of war -- tonight, the rapes that are still continuing, tens of thousands of women who have been raped in this country. What can be done to stop it.

John Roberts was holding down the anchor desk in NYC and reporting on the news stateside, but much of the night's AC360 was spent with Anderson reporting from the Congo.

ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360: "The Killing Fields: Africa's Misery, The World's Shame."  Reporting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, here's Anderson Cooper. 
COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for watching.   ...  We are live tonight from Rutshuru on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not far from the borders of Uganda and Rwanda. That is a crucial fact, Congo sharing its borders with nine other nations. It has absorbed waves of refugees from more than half of them, including Sudan. We will have much more tonight from Congo, as well as neighboring Sudan, both countries, the futures literally hanging in the balance. Their future is being written right now.


COOPER: Welcome back. We are live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The level of everyday violence here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been simply unfathomable over the last several years. Guns and machetes, of course, are common. But the most ruthless weapon that has been used here is rape, tens of thousands of women, children have been attacked, mostly by gangs of soldiers and bands of outlaws.
According to Doctors Without Borders, an estimated 40 percent of the rape victims are under the age of 18. Often, there are multiple assailants. It is something that's hard to report on, but is something that is fact. And this story may be certainly hard to watch, but we can't avoid it. It is part of life here. And the world should know what the women here are facing.

Anderson visited a local hospital and spoke with Dr. Luc Malemo of Heal Africa ~


and then had a follow up discussion with Romain Gitenet from Doctors Without Borders.

COOPER: The fighting and dying in Darfur region, of course, continues. There are now some 200,000 refugees who fled that fighting, living in refugee camps in Chad.
You hear that number, 200,000, and it doesn't almost have any reality. It's easy to just think of it as a statistics, but those are peoples' mothers and fathers. They're brothers and sisters, and all of them have stories to tell.
360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta recently went to the border with Chad. ~


and the video included an interesting follow up discussion with Sanjay.

There were several reports from the Congo on the October 4, 2006 edition of AC360.  Next week we'll look at a few more, but I'll leave you with the following that Anderson posted to the AC360 blog on October 5th as it reflects on his report in the second video posted above ~

Thursday, October 05, 2006
This is not a fairy tale

There are some things you see, some things you hear that simply are unspeakable. In a hospital in the eastern Congo city of Goma, we met a little girl. She never said a word to us, she could barely look us in the eyes. When she did, her eyes told the story.
"She never says anything to men," one of the hospital counselors explained, and then she told us why. 
The little girl was raped. Gang-raped. It was allegedly done by soldiers engaged in a complicated regional war that has claimed millions of lives. The war officially ended in 2003, but outbreaks of violence and rape continue. The girl is now five years old. She was raped when she was three.
I wish I could tell you this was an extraordinary event. I wish I could tell you she was the only child attacked. The hospital was full of rape victims, and the doctor had seen other small children victimized.
Because the rapes are so violent, women often develop fistulas -- ruptures in their vaginas or rectums that make it impossible to control bodily functions. A charity called Heal Africa was running this hospital, and the doctor said he was able to fix about 70-80 percent of the fistula cases, but of course some wounds never heal.
Heal Africa has opened up a residence for women with fistulas that can't be surgically fixed, at least not here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The women can't go home. Often they've been rejected by their husbands because they were raped. The stigma here is strong.
I met a woman named Angela. I can't stop thinking about her. She was raped by three men in front of her children. Afterwards they shot her, and she says they burned her baby girl. The girl is four now and has a massive scar all over her chest.
Angela's fistula was fixed, but her arm remains injured from the gunshot. Pscyhologically she's still devastated. To make matters worse, her husband kicked her out of the house.
"He heard I was raped," she said whispering. "And he just said, 'Go on your own, I don't need you anymore. If we lived together, you now might have HIV so you might infect me.'"
I didn't ask Angela her HIV status. I didn't think it was any of my business. Perhaps I should have asked, but she didn't volunteer it, and I felt like I'd already asked her too much.
The funding for the Heal Africa house comes from a non-governmental organization. They say their funding ends in April. It's not clear what will happen then.
"The only thing I need is some land so I can build a house," Angela said to me before I left. "I might die and I want my kids to have that castle. I'm hoping for a miracle."
There aren't many miracles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is not a fairy tale, some stories don't have happy endings. Here the men who rape with impunity are rarely brought to justice. Women like Angela are expected to simply bear the pain.
If you would like to help Heal Africa in the work they are doing, you can log onto their Web site.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 12:14 PM ET

Until next week when we see reports on Gorillas and other animals.... Wonz.

AC360 Transcript
AC360 Podcast

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things Anderson and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.


Anonymous said...

It is hard to relate this anderson who wrote this beautiful descriptive, passage with the 'goofball,' that anderson has become in anderson live.
Here he had a chance to make a meaningful contribution to society, and now he is just another run of the mill personality.
Why settle for less when you can do more with your life?

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 2/4/13, 12:01 AM The only thing I can figure is Anderson has gotten all the money and fame he needs, so maybe all along deep down that is all he ever was, a run of the mill personality.

Anonymous said...

I liked John Roberts as an anchor - too bad CNN didn't give him a prime time spot. but now he has a kid(s) and moved on.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to think that this is the real Anderson Cooper and the Anderson on 'Anderson Live' is someone that is trying to keep himself relevant, for lack of a better word.

CNN used to send/let Anderson travel the globe to tell people's stories, but unfortunately, that isn't the case these days. CNN is now money and ratings driven. Also, at play is the TV viewing audience these days. To me is speaks volumes that Honey Boo Boo Child had higher ratings than the Republican National Convention and tied the Democratic National Convention last summer/fall. The type of reporting Anderson did in the Congo, just wouldn't pull in viewers/ratings currently. When Anderson traveled to the border of Somalia to report on the famine in 2011 for three days, the ratings were not that great. Seems to me the majority of the U.S. viewing public wants mindless reality TV that they can laugh at or someone spouting an opinion.

I would love to see CNN develop an international program in prime time and see Anderson anchor it. They have reporters all over the globe and there's certainly enough happening internationally, but something tells me that it wouldn't draw very good ratings because the U.S. viewing public doesn't seem to care about news that isn't happening in their own backyard. Pretty sad actually.

I totally disagree with people that think Anderson has sold out. I think the times have changed. He's always said he didn't want to be an anchor who yelled his opinion. In recent interviews he still talks about telling people's stories as being his passion. In 2011, in answer to 'Ask Anderson' question for the talk show, he talked about Angela - so five years later he still hadn't forgotten her. That, to me, is the Anderson Cooper I admire as a reporter.

I'm hoping with the talk show going away and his EP, Terence no longer trying to dumb him down and trying to embarrass him on a daily basis, that the old Anderson will get a change to shine on AC360 or where ever he ends up depending on the changes Zucker decides to make at CNN, and in his 60 Minutes assignments. Anchors with Anderson's story telling abilities are few and far between and it's a talent that should be in demand.

Anderson didn't need television for money or fame. He was born the son of Gloria Vanderbilt. If it was fame he was looking for, he was born into it, but he never cashed in on that, so I'm afraid I don't see your reasning @Anon 2:12


Anonymous said...

"I totally disagree that Anderson sold out."
Nice thought, but when was the last time Anderson spoke to a celebrity?
I rest my case.
And Terrence is the cause of Anderson's daytime failure?
Yes, it is really easy to blame failure on everyone else.
As the host, he should have fired whomever it was he disagreed with, if he cared.
But he couldn't because the 'wind was rising in an easterly direction and it was what, raining in NYC???'
Makes sense to me.

trampadoo said...

I don't understand why Anderson can't be a serious reporter and a dorky goofball at the same time. Obviously he is both. Does anyone here really believe he is always a dead serious journalist? Why can't he have this professional side but at the same time be a dork who turns into a right goofball at times?

It just depends on the program and mood of the show which side he lets out. When you look at his old ABC stuff we often get to see the goofball, who obviously is not appropriate and probably wouldn't appear anyway when he's doing assignments in war and desaster zones. The man is not one-dimensional.

And I agree with Jenn, Anderson has no control over CNN's program politics. He can offer to do a certain type of work but what does that matter if the channel is not interested in certain topics because Americans are not interested? Hey, even on 60 Minutes they said that important topics like the story on rape victims Anderson did was not that popular ratings-wise. Because people don't want to see this. But 60 Minutes produces those uncomfortable stories anyway and kudos to them. CNN doesn't. Not Anderson's fault.

The sad reality is that in the USA opinion news and people yelling at each other gets better ratings than neutrality and international stories that make people uncomfortable.

Anon, it's funny that you of all people would complain about that even though it is you who constantly demands of Anderson to give up his principles, produce opinion news and start a gun-control campaign like Piers does.