Sunday, April 21, 2013

From The ATA Archives: Anderson Cooper in The Democratic Republic of The Congo, October 2006, Part 7 (final)

This Sunday, as we look back on Anderson Cooper's reporting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it's now Thursday, October 5, 2006 and with John Roberts holding down the anchor desk in NYC, Anderson is live in Rutshuru, Congo for he second hour of AC360.  This is Anderson's final night of reporting from the Congo.   The following night (Friday), a special, formed of segments played throughout the week, aired in the second hour of AC360.

Anderson's opening and overview of the hour ~

Now let's go back to Anderson in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, John. Thanks very much.

We are here in Africa looking at countries on the brink. Vibrant life is everywhere, but so is violence and so is pain. The question is, can these young children, boys and girls, be pulled from a crumbling edge back to stable ground? Many are trying.

Coming up, a look at how an art program is helping Sudan's so- called lost boys.

Plus, regional peace deals exist on paper, but rebel armies exist, as well. My interview with one of the Congo's last warlords, a wanted man accused of war crimes, but it seems no one is willing or able to arrest him, even though it seems everyone knows where to find him.

You know, John, they did it after Katrina struck and they are doing it here now. Kids, traumatized by war and disaster. They don't have to put into words the horrors they have seen war.

And later, a warlord wanted for war crimes, accused of terrible things. As I found out, though, he's very easy to track down. The question is, why can't authorities here do it?

This is a special edition of 360, "The Killing Fields."

COOPER: Here in the Congo, alone, Amnesty International says 400,000 boys and girls have been displaced.

In Sudan, the numbers may be even higher. A lot of the young Sudanese refugees walked hundreds of miles to neighboring Chad to find a new home. The reality is they can't escape what they have lived through. The pain is so great that some of the kids can't even talk about it. There are ways -- other ways, however, to express the horror, as 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta found out.

COOPER: The war that began here in the Congo in the late '90s was waged by dozens of warring armies and militias, groups with little control and a lot of weapons.

A peace deal in 2003 officially ended the fighting, but their fighting really never stopped. The violence continues and some warlords have refused to give up their weapons.

One of them in particular is refusing to give up his weapons, waiting to see what happens to the elections which are coming up in just a few weeks.

I went and found the warlord in his mountain top hideout.

COOPER: The things most Americans take for granted, like clean tap water, are beyond dreams for most people here in Africa.

Cholera is a water-born illness, and contact with the deadly bacteria is almost inevitable.

360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta visited a refugee camp. A doctor for whom preventing an outbreak is a healthy obsession.

In our time here, we have seen beauty. We have seen generosity and selflessness. But the list of problems facing the people of the Congo and Sudan, well, is very daunting.

COOPER (voice-over):  Jason Stearns, of International Crisis Group, joins us again tonight. He seeks out solutions for populations that live in conflict.

Jason, thanks for being with us.

We have seen a lot of things here. Things that none of us will ever forget. Life and death and hope and survival. All unfolding day after day.

Coming up next, we'll have my reporter's notebook.

COOPER: The Congo is a country of irony, cruel ironies. It has wealth, yet millions are dirt poor. The land is fertile, but 70 percent of its people are malnourished. And while I was shocked at the scope of this tragedy, I was equally astonished at the will here to prevail.

We're going to take a look now at my reporter's notebook.

COOPER (voice-over): There are moments in the Congo when you find it hard to believe that a place like this really exists. In the Congo, you can feel the earth, you smell it, the rawness, the thin line between life and death.

There are some things you see, some things you hear that simply are unbelievable. Women gang-raped, who now have to hide because of the stigma they face. You look in their eyes, there's nothing you can say. I'm sorry sounds so small.

Everywhere you go, you're surrounded. Curious kids, smiling stares. They run alongside your car, yelling, muzumgu, muzumgu, white guy, white guy. You can't help but laugh.

There is corruption. There's fighting. Rebel armies that rape and loot. Decades of rulers here have failed the people. But the people are the strength of this land. The burdens they bear every day up hill and down. I know I'm not as strong as them -- men, women, children. Here, no one gets a break. It is unconscionable, when you think about it, that this land which is so rich, remains so poor.

In the ground there's gold, there's diamonds, tin and coltan. You can chisel it out with simple tools, sometimes even with your bare hands. But the riches, they're squandered. They're siphoned off, lost for good. They have been for generations.

The mountains, the forests, lush, green, but threatened. The mountain gorilla is their best hope for a future. You can sit within feet of them. They're as curious about us as we are of them.

There is something about the Congo that gets under your skin. The pulse of life, the throb of pain. Millions have died here, though few seem to have noticed. How many more millions will it take before something is done?

After his reporter's notebook, Anderson read three entries from the AC360 blog!

That's it from state side. Now, let's go back to the Congo for our last word. And here's Anderson.

COOPER: Hey, John. Thanks very much. Appreciate that.

We're going to have more from Africa tomorrow night on the special edition of 360. Appreciate you watching it. I know a lot of the stuff is tough to see. We think you want to know about it. It is important and it is very much the reality of what is happening here.

We'll have more from this region tomorrow. Good night.

"LARRY KING" is next.

Thus ended Anderson's reporting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Stay tuned to find out where Anderson shows up on his next field reporting assignment....  ~Wonz.

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