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Ask Dominic MacSorley...

This week, the JOURNAL follows Dominic MacSorley, Emergency Director of the international aid organization CONCERN WORLDWIDE, and the struggle to bring relief to war-torn Congo.

"The amount of violence in these villages is actually hard to see until you sit down and you talk to people, and you realize that they went through hell. They went through absolute hell... As aid agencies, you really need to put yourself in the position of somebody who has to go through what is, essentially, a dehumanizing experience. So if you can get them to participate and work within the kind of process that you're putting in place, then they become part of their own solution, and I think that's so important."

We thank Dominic MacSorley for taking time to answer your questions about his work, international aid, and what's happening in the Congo. We will post his response next week.

NOTE: Click here to view a previous Moyers report following aid efforts in Afghanistan from MacSorley and CONCERN WORLDWIDE.


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Comments

Aviation has been a passion of mine for many many years, thanks for the post.

Hi Dominic,

I saw your show awhile back and wanted to know the name of the organization that supplies the bikes for the kids to deliver the food from town to town. Is it Concern Worlwide or another organization?

Thank you,
Suzanne

This extremely moving story would benefit its listeners by including a bit more history. Bill Moyers introduced it briefly by mentioning that the greedy Belgium King Leopold stole Congo's resources until the 60's when dictator Mobutu took over and was supported by the U.S. and its multinational corporations for 30 odd years. What was missing is the fact that democratic elections were held in the Congo when the Belgians were driven out. Nationalist and leftist Patrice Lumumba was elected Prime Minister and soon assassinated by the CIA. Mobutu was installed by the same organization and maintained by "generations" of Presidents, as Moyers states, to ransack the land and essentially keep the people enslaved in poverty. There is no better definition of "imperialism" than what Europe and the U.S. did to the people of the Congo. The same imperialism is trying to steal Iraqi oil, overthrew nationalist Mossadegh in Iran half a century ago, removed democratically elected Hugo Chavez in Venezuela six years ago (unsuccessfully), and is threatening a myriad of countries with its military, financial and diplomatic might. Please take the opportunity to reveal so much that the people of foreign lands know but has been censored out of our media.

Michael Sharpeq: If feeding the hungry and trying to recover food production after a corporate "gold rush at the point of a gun" are leftist,
then I guess your rightest views are: "rape 'em all, take the goodies and let 'em die."
Are you ready for the Chinese Army or Blackwater (or other ascendant entrepreneurs) to try that in your town? (Remenber: Small arms are an artifact of suicide in this
new world of smart bombs and complete eavesdropping.)
The "Golden Rule" is not leftist per se. In order to defend your human rights you must defend those of the Congolese (and the hungry here at home) as well.

I've been looking at the accolades, but has anyone question the integrity of Bill? I'm thinking of the times when he "knew" LBJ was going over the edge. What did he do? I'm looking forward to his softball questions to Jerimiah Wright. Let's see some of those "hard hitting" questions that Bill prides himself for...this is a joke. He's a total ass-kisser to the left.

Thank you for the excellent repotring and for the hard work in the field.

I haven't seen an answer to the question about sponsoring or supporting the bike transporters directly.
It looked like they were riding an incredible collection of rolling Mcyguyverisms- these guy need tubes/tires/pedals/oil and misc supplies and tools. How can we get them what they need????

Tim:
The names are in the following box instead of the same box as the posts. sooo! You have to think outside the box. If there is anything I should pick up on; please post the information. It is Good of you to offer your help for this worthwhile project. I have done studies and written Books on social organization. I went to China through People to People. I presented one of my Books called Earthland: the Real and Ideal at ten universities in China. I was travelling with a group of philosophy professors.
Dave

Why did you not include the 2 minute webcast in the normal program? I think if more people realized the real reason for the conflicts in Congo is minerals and those fighting over them, we might be able to see more of Congo's wealth going to the people who need help the most. The western media, even PBS and Bill Moyers, need to pick this up and connect the dots. Just like the Iraq war is not about terrorism, the Congo wars are not about petty tribal conflicts. They are global wars that are financed by western and Chinese multinational enterprises who are eager to gain access to valuable mineral resources such as coltan, copper, zinc .... the fighting is not about savage Africans (as some media portrays), it is about greedy corporations and their support of greedy Africans. Please have a program on the mineral contract review process in the DRC and how the contract renegotiations appear to be corrupt despite all the hype of the process' goals.

I would like to know more about the young frenchman Djani Zadi. He spoke french and said he was French but apparently his name is something other than that. I found him to be such an interesting young man and so committed.

somehow or the other I have been crossed up with David Eddy, which is maybe ok or maybe not. I sent you guys a check yesterday and I might apply for a job.

Americans know our days are numbered. Just like the Congo road builder's experience with his friends in France most people don't want to hear anything they term "negative."
Bill Moyers has to temper and segment his descriptions of the world food crisis against viewership.(Thankfully he did mention our woefully inadequate system of Food Stamps, now swipe cards.) Even Bill's exceptional and affluent audience, well educated and informed, many with experience in charity work are sometimes turned off by raw truths.

We look for humanity in Congolese victims. One says ,"We Africans love one another." But even that is scary because we understand that Americans don't love one another in the ways he describes. It is no surprise that our Supreme Court is re-examining the "right to bear arms" in these insecure times. Just like the Mai Mai we have people who would take up the weapons hidden in their homes to rob, rape and kill the rest of us.

It all comes from our being a predatory society. We don't want to see the voctims of global business because they are us. Even we who look out of justice and pity know we too are cut off from the stream of big wealth and have also lost the direct means to fulfill our daily needs.Our anomie and distrust, our separate isolation are not natural for any people. I believe it is due to our economic system and the way we are forced to make a living.

I have a female Congresswoman and a female Senator, and they are the hardest, most obstinate, blind to suffering, victim blaming, greedy rich women you could imagine. These are the kind of hardened business bitches North Carolinians elect. They have killed several trees sending form letters in response to my email pleas for change.

I barely make a living at my job, and it is a destructive and depressing rigamarole of denying people needed benefits. How can I blame my predatory self and my predatory neighbors when we are forced by circunstance to mimic the parasitic monsters of our society the media terms successful. How do we break out and change.

I tried to heal myself by watching this, one of Moyers' most honest shows. It drove me into the backyard of my rented cottage to begin recovering the asparagus patch the former tenant began. Hoeing and weeding was very difficult for this sedentary office worker, but I thought about the men in the Congo pushing 200 pounds of split peas on a bike. I worried if our economy collapses that some gunman would kill me over a few vegetable sprigs. Then I thought how much better the sauce tastes when you share it with someone else, and I kept digging.

Dominic,

I am grateful to both you and Bill for both of your endeavors and,certainly, this noble work in DRC. I have been a concerned DRC watcher for five years and have wanted togo ther to help for years. I almost made it there for the elections two years a go.

So, I am taking this opportunity to ask if you may have any need for a "volunteer" who beyond room and board would need just a few hundred dollars a month. I speak fluent French and would love to help the women and the people of Eastern Congo.

Please let me know if anything comes to mind.

Thank you for your good work.

Gerri Michalska

Joe-- Thank you so much for letting me know that I can track congressional bills by subject at GovTrack.us -- this is a fantastic resource! I've requested email alerts for hunger, poverty, and health (so far).

Hi Terry,

Helicopters, just like the small airplanes are a really useful way of moving supplies quickly, especially in country as vast as the DR Congo. We had to get 450 tons out to 24 villages scattered over a wide area : 300 tons of flour, peas, oil, salt and 152 tons of seeds. Air transport is certainly faster, but in the end people power was the best answer.

Thanks Terry,

Dominic

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the offer of support. Much appreciated.

Dominic

Hi Yasmine,

Thank you for your comments and I am really pleased that you found the story inspiring. Tutu is an extraordinary young man and represents very much the strength and spirit of the people of the Congo. While the years of war touched everyone, including Tutu’s family, they are thankfully now managing to support themselves. His family has a small home in the village, and they are able to earn a basic living which is supplemented with the money that Tutu earns transporting supplies on the back of his bike. Others are less fortunate and they are the ones that need to be our focus of attention.

I will make sure that our team sends your regards to Tutu.

Thanks again

Dominic

Hi Sandra,

Thanks for your suggestion about the Kit Fox planes. I went on line to check them out. They are similar to the small planes that are being used by various private companies in the Congo and we in fact hire these every now and then to move people and urgently needed supplies. The problem with any air transport is the cost and we estimated that moving tons of food by bike is at least 3 times cheaper - slower yes, but the cost of transport goes back into the community which is a real benefit.

Thanks Sandra for your interest, much appreciated.

Dominic

Hi Pam

Thanks for your comments and good luck with your trip to Ituri in north east. I was there last year on an assessment with Concern- another beautiful part of the country that is thankfully now emerging from years of conflict.

Safe travels,

Dominic

Hi David,

You make an important point about conflict prevention. I have always felt that any successfully emergency intervention is a reflection of a failure to prevent the tragedy from happening in the first place. Concern’s work is not only about emergency response but also includes importantly conflict mitigation and disaster risk reduction as key component.

While all these aspects could not be covered, the program does importantly raise awareness of the human consequences of conflict, which is critical to encouraging the broader debate that you rightly refer to.

Thanks David for your important observations.


Best

Dominic

Hi Anne Marie,

Thanks for the seed alliance web site and I will pass your message on to our team.

Best

Dominic

Hi Gwendolyn,

Thank you so much for your generous offer of sending medical supplies, clothes etc. I am truly impressed by your desire to support our work. When it comes to supplies, our preference is to try and source as much as we can in-country. For specialized supplies, such as medicines we are generally are able to source these through the UN agency warehouses. Other more general supplies, such as blankets, clothes, cooking pot etc, we try and buy in local markets throughout the country. This all helps boost the local economy, keep transport costs at a minimum and maximize the impact we can have with the funds we receive.

Thanks again,

Dominic

Hi Ethan,

Many of these women lost their children as a result of the years of war where they were forced to flee their homes, not once but multiple times. One woman I met had spent two years hiding with the children in the forest, surviving on wild food and roots. Two of her children died of hunger and disease. These women are now back, starting over, rebuilding their families and their lives.

I don’t believe that having smaller families is the right solution to preventing hunger. In a world that generates enough food for everyone I would think that more equitable distribution of resources is the answer. Added to that, ensuring that families have a roof to sleep under, access to affordable health care, education for their children and the ability to earn a living that supports their family - these are what we should be focusing on as solutions.

Best

Dominic

Your story really inspired my family and I. It really opened our eyes to the struggles of the people in the Congo and it makes us really feel greatful for what we have here. We were especially touched by Tutu Moke, the bike transporter. His courage and will power shows that many things can be possible. Although we would like to help as much we can, is there any way we can help Tutu Moke specifically?

Thanks again

Yasmine Mohamednur

Have you considered Kit Fox Planes? They can be loaded on the trucks; then pulled behind the jeep. It could reach further and deliver food before the rains; and the bike mission can still be used. I will get someone to donate if this is a consideration. I praise our Lord Father for this organization and the progress. This is the first story that I have saw on the Congo since the election. I have prayed for this.

Thank you so much for your great program on Congo. I have worked in Tanzania and am going on a mission trip to DRC Ituri province next month to see how we can be part of a mutual ministry with the Anglican Diocese of Boga. I'd suggest people find a way to go to Congo; checks are helpful, legislature is helpful. Being on the ground gives a sense of the immediacy of need and the unacceptability of food insecurity anywhere today. Kudos. Keep up the good work.

Among the many excellent programs you have produced this year, your episode on hunger relief in the DR of Congo is one of the best. We must NEVER lose sight of those who do not have enough to eat (it's a basic human right), nor the many organizatins -from the UN,to NGO's, to Church groups, etc.--who work to reduce hunger. Through such groups we can offer advocacy, volunteerism, donations, and/or creativity that can make a huge difference. However, those efforts, once in-county, need coordination and oversight--- with the home country playing the most signifcant role. As long as Bill Moyers Journal and similar programming keep the realities of hunger in the public eye, the greater the chances of the meeting the Millennium Development Goals and thereby decreasing human suffering in the Congo and elsewhere. Thanks you for airing this powerful program.

The methodology used by Concern World Wide is a good example of problem solving from the human standpoint. It is essential to provide opportunity to survive without undermining the culture and dignity of the people. It is painful that this consideration was not taken into consideration in Iraq.
This journal was an important social commentary. The only problem I had with the presentation was that it iced over the madness of the internal conflict, lose of human life and the disaster of children without parents. Rebuilding the social infrastructure will be just as important as feeding hungry people. There is more to life then bread alone. There must be solutions to the conflict or the conflict will again rear its ugly head. We have seen too much of survival of the human spirit and not enough of preventing the disasters in the first place. Making heroes of victims does not prevent the problem nor does concern help the situation if it is not followed by the right solution to the problem. Ye is the Chinese symbol for the right solution for the problem which includes preventative actions.

Well I just read the program protection policy page so I don't think I should just send a crate of parts and tools somewhere where it might cause trouble. I'll send you guys some money instead. You buy what ever is right.

Mr. MaCsorley: I could donate some bicycle parts- ie; tires and no pop innertubes,gears,spokes, tools and seats and pumps and axles and oil and grease, even materials to build bike trailers. How do I get them there?

Mr. MacSorley
Do you see an inherent flaw in global market capitalism that cannot address issues of material inequity in the global marketplace, and even seems to merely 'increase' the wealth of the haves at the expense of the have nots?
...as Pope John Paul II said, 'there is no market for poverty and want.'

Hi Deepti,

You are right; the world grows enough to feed everyone. Your question was about food distribution organizations - there are lots of non - government organizations that conduct food distribution and many are contracted by the World Food Program. I think however what we need to think more than distributions is the question of how can we prevent people from getting to the point where they need distribution - how can we ensure that they can grow enough , or earn enough so that they do not need assistance. That to me is the solution.

Best

Dominic

Hi Karen,

Your work with CBC in Ethiopia, as with all media still, is so important in raising the issue of food shortages through out the world. Keep up the good work, keep people informed!

Thanks again.

Dominic

Hi Patty,

Thanks for your kind words. Bulldozers are needed for sure and would do the work faster but for the villagers we are working in, we want to keep using local labor, so that they learn to maintain the roads themselves and to earn daily wages- which the community still needs to get back on their feet.

Best

Dominic

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for you interest. Learning more about our work is a great start, and often helps lead you towards ways to become involved - whether its raising funds or simply telling more people about what you saw.

Thanks again,

Dominic

Hi Pam

The work we are doing is continuing with the villagers. We are repairing more roads and bridges, building schools and developing clean water supplies. All this work needs your support. This will benefit everyone, including the bikers who come from the villages themselves.

By the way, I just spoke to our team in Shamwana a few days ago and they tell me that Tutu is doing very well. He is fit and healthy and is off doing another delivery to more villages.

Best

Dominic

Hi EM Solis.

You ask a good question about oversight in our work with partner originations. Not all our work is with local and international partners and in many of the emergency , rehabilitation settings such as in DR Congo much of our work is being directly implemented by Concern - mainly because in these remote, isolated areas- there are no functioning local organizations. In other countries of operation, where we are working with partner organizations, we have very thorough policies and procedures in place to ensure financial transparency and accountability. Concern have qualified staff in place in all our countries of operation who work very closely with these partners to ensure that the work is being carried out as efficient and effectively as possible.

Best

Dominic

Dominic an inspiring show. Despite the horror and ravages of war and starvation the human spirit is indomitable, evidenced by the villagers, bike messengers and relief workers. Thank you for shining a light on the dire situation in the DR Congo. Concern has been at the forefront of relief for the poorest of the poor for 40 years and I applaud you for your years of care and commitment. Keep up the good work.

Dear Mr. MacSorley, Thank you for showing so many people the work you and others are doing with the people of the DR Congo. Let's hope the right forces come together and get those roads built. Both you and the wonderful young French man said it so well, "Seeing and doing nothing is just unacceptable." Bless you all.

Thank you to all involved with these excellent and very moving films/ segments concerning the recovery in DRC. You have stirred much compassion and desire for action!
I'd like to suggest a few ways people can help to further this work: 1) send money to your favorite relief NGO, 2) tell your friends to depend on honest news sources (like Moyers Journal) not the commercial media, 3) express your concerns about the DRC to your legislators, 4) and volunteer your own time/ skills to support a relief & recovery NGO in your hometown. They almost certainly need your volunteer help here -- while their professionals travel to work in the field. Besides ones in the Moyer's Journal story, my personal favorites that work in DRC are: The Center For The Victims of Torture (CVT) of Minneapolis MN and Mercy Corps of Portland OR.

Bill – Thank you so much for your thoughtful coverage of so many issues we all need to know more about. Following comments made by other readers, I’ve suggested a few below that come to mind from Dominic’s work and this film, that I hope you will address in future programs.

Dominic – what a labor of love. I am left without words enough to thank you. Bicycle transport is a wonderful way to employ local people in a sustainable way that doesn’t require the transport of fuel for vehicles – except the calories to feed the bicyclists.

Thanks too to those who made such a wonderful film. Because I once traveled and worked in foreign aid in Africa, I found the images more nostalgic than shocking, though I am still embarrassed to remember being a rich Westerner using fuel and other resources.

But – Dominic and Bill and Dave – perhaps you can address – in comments or in other programs -- many of the issues raised by this program and the comments of others, above:
· Population growth. I realize that it often happens after wars, and stems in part from economic injustice, part from culture (following the airing of the Journal was a NOW story on the status of girls in Nepal), and in part from lack of family planning aid.
o But population growth ultimately aggravates the problems of poverty.
o And tension-causing immigration into the U.S. and Europe has been fueled by population explosions -- aggravated by social conservatives’ reluctance since 1980 to provide adequate family planning aid.
o I hope that Rev. Beckman can comment on this particular aspect of family planning in next week’s show.
· Coltan and other natural resource extraction, with little benefit to locals, by multinationals, aided and abetted by our government. Bill, please do a show on this.
· Dumping. In Africa I saw dumping of drugs, pesticides, herbicides, etc. banned in the West, by multinationals. Bill, please do a show on this.
· Fertilizer. Another program.
o The manufacture of chemical fertilizer contributes to natural resource extraction. The nitrogen component has been estimated to use 5% of the world’s natural gas supply. Phosphorus comes from phosphate mines – a recent edition of PBS NOW showed the terrible consequences for U.S. western forest preserves, but most of the world’s potassium is in Morocco. Potassium is also mined, in Canada, but formerly in Ethiopia. http://www.fertilizer.org/ifa/statistics/indicators/ind_reserves.asp
o Manufacture, use, and breakdown of chemical fertilizers generate greenhouse gases. The runoff (from farms and lawns) is a major factor in the slow death of – for example -- the Chesapeake Bay, and other waters.
o David – just as Dominic gives people beans to grow their own food, can’t your groups focus on teaching farmers to make their own organic fertilizers, rather than building better roads, to use more fuel, to transport chemical fertilizers?
· Genetically modified seed. GMOs snuck into North America food and seed while those who should have been watching and warning looked away. Now they are everywhere, and we are already seeing the consequences – genes migrating to crops that were supposed to be non-GMO, resistance to herbicides spreading to weeds. Was agbusiness so powerful that independent scientists (not employed by corporations) were kept from (effectively) warning that the same gene-splicing tools that allow the modification of organisms would multiply and spread? How did this – much easier to see than global climate change – sneak up on us, in an era when investigative media were still healthy? Loss of genetic diversity, monocultures susceptible to yet-unforeseen diseases, and potential health effects – all are too real, not scaremongering. Bill – another program. Parts of it have been done, but in a NOVA program that was under the thumb of agbusiness. Needs revisiting.
· To the filmmakers: I realize how much you had to edit, but you might have explained that the spraying by MSF was for (I suspect) malaria, not cholera. And what was MSF doing about transmission of cholera through poor sanitation? And how did the bicycle riders and others crossing those rivers manage to avoid bilharzia infection?

About David Beckmann... He seems like a Secret-World-Government representative: part of a corrupt conspiracy.

David Bechmann said that we are giving more aid, when we are not. He said that $14B (and an additional $20B more needed) is a lot of money, when the long term costs of the Iraq war and occupation (which is useless, unnecessary, illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional) will be $3T ($3,000,000,000,000).

And then David Beckmann said that the rise in world food prices are, not due to the around five-fold increase in oil prices due to the Iraq War and occupation and US warmongering, but because poor people are eating more food. That is so ridiculous I just could not believe my ears. As if, a few years ago, poor people were not eating food--they just lived on air--and only recently did they decide to start eating food. What a nightmare to be in the US now and have to hear such inane BS, and have Bill Moyers not say a word about it.

There is a conspiracy. 9/11 was an inside job. Personal income tax, new as of 1913, is unconstitutional. The Federal Reserve, also established in 1913, is a private bank owned by mainly European interests and is leeching the US economy to death. JFK, MLK, and RFK were killed by secretive elements within the US government. The Bushes are utterly corrupt. Click on my name, below, to learn about all of this and more. The United States is under attack, from enemies foreign and domestic! We have a patriotic and civic duty to learn about this governmental corruption and to fight and destroy it!

The American way of life is dying, and so will its people in the years to follow, if we don't stand up for the Constitution, take time to learn what is going on and to spread the word. Calling all patriots! Respond!

there is no hope of providing enough resources to these poor people - just seeing the sheer numbers of children and pregnant women would indicate a huge population explosion when they all begin to reproduce.

it's like trying to bail out a bottomless boat.

Bill, Dominic,

Thank you for the program. A great 'eye-opener' for all the world.
Question: Would not a donated (?) helicopter + pilot make a significant contribution to food distribution? Has this possibility been explored at all?

@tonks, you can track bills by subject at GovTrack.us. For example, here's an index of bills concerning Hunger.

Trackers can email you or be used as RSS feeds.

Last night, April 4th 2008, I saw Bill Moyers Journal in Africa. The village people going miles over terible roads on old bicycles but suddenly they were crossing a stream and I saw what I thought was a live antelope,but perhaps it was a goat, tied onto the back of the bicycle and the bicycle fell over into the water...this animal had no way to escape..Its legs seemed to be tied up. The footage moved on without showing what happened..
I am sure there is great cruelty to animals in poorer countries, which is taken for granted, but I would urge responsible photographers and others in charge of helping, to speak up for these poor creatures who have no-one at all to help them.

Sincerely yours, Virginia Lamarche
Wall Twp., NJ, USA

I just wanted to say that the Congo hour was like water to the thirsty, I can't articulate why. Just, it puts other reporting and news outlets to shame. Thank you.

I am one of those who choose political action for making the world a better place -- but among all my incoming emails on petitions to sign, letters to write, and phone calls to make, I have no reliable source of information on current votes in Congress concerning world hunger and poverty.
Please let me know a good website where I can sign up for political alerts, forward them to friends, and help to make a difference.

It is so nice to see a pragmatic bicycle based approach to solve man-made miseries of a large population, and put them on a path of self confidence. It is this latter which is needed most, not arrogant judgment. In my profession I have seen too often that the tiniest positive results provides massive fuel to the graduate student to spend endless hours in the laboratory. If a matter that is tiny compared to life and death can do this, one can imagine how that would play out for a family beset with hunger.

Thank you, Dominic for the approach and your genuine affection for the people in need. I plan to contribute and pray for all success. Also, please forward my regards to your young dedicated teammate who was building the roads. Idealism among youth has fast disappeared, but perhaps the example set by him or the doctor can rekindle the young idealistic spirit that is free of national or spiritual boundaries.

Thank you Bill for bringing this and other journalistic entries. I always look forward to this one program. It brings hope that one can still look beyond boundaries and help address man-made problems within and between nations.

Dominic,
Thank you for sharing the message of all that is being done and still needs to happen. I know the Dem Rep of Congo is huge - how much of the country is in the dire condition we saw in the show? And what portion is doing better? My church's Baptist Missionaries do good work near Kikongo where things seem much better overall. Have you worked with Ed Noyes - he's assisting with agricultural development near Kikongo with great success. See more at: http://www.internationalministries.org/missionary/85/profile
- Curtis

Dominic, can you tell us if the seeds being provided are genetically modified. Thank you for all you are doing. You and your team, and those fine human beings we saw helping tonight, are an inspiration. Feeling so proud to be Irish! :)

hi there-
I have a limited income .
How may I help?

Dear Dominic: We in this Country of Canada, have so much to give, purses, shoes, clothes, sewing materials, medical supplies, first-aid kits, etc. Is there anyway we can get all these supplies to your Country there in the Congo if we do not have monies to send? Just stuff, lots and lots of stuff...help...Gwendolyn

Mr. MacSorley,
We found Bill Moyers article on DR Congo very enlightening. Watching I kept hearing references to the rainy season as if it were an obstacle. Having lived with a philosophy that one can turn obstacles into advantages i thought of coming up with someway to use the rainy season to Concerns advantage. Though I am not familiar with the conditions could a form of transportation be developed to transport using the excess mud and water to a transport advantage. Maybe a flat bottomed sled/boat using bicycles for motivation,

Using bicycles to move food stuffs to remote sites is proof of Occam’s Razor. My hat is off to you and your organization.

Dear Dominic,
This organization might be very useful to your org.
http://www.seedalliance.org/index.php?page=World_Seed_Fund
Exciting times of loving action. Please let the village people know that we care about their happiness.

It is sad that NO mention of Coltan was made during this program. To me this smacks as more of the cleaning up after the beast. Sure it is absolutely necessary from a human moral stand point t help, but what we are doing is wiping the butt of the beast after it has layed a load. We must be transparent enough to tell the full story.
Coltan is used to make capacitors and other electronic components and the Congo has the most of any place on earth.

here is a cut and paste from the link:

http://www.democracynow.org/2006/8/7/the_war_the_world_ignores_a

".....clip
So, we know that this story is the real story, partly because the Rwandan army, when it went into Congo, didn’t go to where the Hutu Power people who committed the genocide were. They went to where the mines were. And, indeed, we have memos that were unearthed by Human Rights Watch that show that the Rwandan army actually gave orders to collaborate and cooperate with the Hutu Power people in the rape of Congo.

This continues right to the present day. You still have—I went to mines that were controlled effectively by slave labor, where they were owned by the militias. So you can’t ever have a unified state in Congo, while you have this situation. The government doesn’t control the resources. You’ve got a situation where the government is trying to get the country to be united by bribing, paying soldiers to join the national army.

The problem is, you go to the camps, the Congolese National Army camps, as I did, people are paid $5 a month, if they’re lucky. There were people dying of AIDS just in the barracks. There were people are starving, people with their children there starving. And they were saying, “Well, look. If we join the national army, we get $5. If I go out and join one of the militia groups that control a gold mine or a diamond mine or cassiterite mine or a coltan mine, I can get $60 a month. What should I do?” So, it guarantees that Congo—the fact that we in the outside world are still buying these blood-soaked minerals guarantees that Congo can’t be unified.

And the United Nations identified some of the most core multinationals as responsible for this: Anglo American, De Beers, Barclays Bank. And what’s really shameful is this a war fought for us, so that we can have these resources. But when our governments were informed by the United Nations that they were cooperating with some of their—that their corporations were collaborating and indeed causing some of the worst human rights abuses anywhere in the world, our governments didn’t react by holding these corporations to account. They reacted by saying to the UN, “Why has our company been put on this list?” The companies lobbied very hard, not just in the Bush administration, but in Britain, in Germany, all over the developed world, to say, “Get us off the list.” And lots of them were taken off the list. It’s a disgrace.
clip......."

so let us wipe and assist and then really hold the devloped nations responsible for the corruption and distruction responsible and visible in the media of the world........oh I fogot, they also own much of the media with bribe and advertising money.

Dominic, this is a beautiful display of grassroots will and determination. I am part of a group in New York City that rebuilds bicycles for those in the city who need them. I am training in international affairs and someday wish to work in people-powered food programs such as this. What do you recommend for someone who is planning to be on the ground in such an organization as yours? How do you prepare yourself to see such hardship?

Dear Dominic MacSorley,

We as Americans take a lot for granted. How can one complain after seeing this story. If I obtain for donations from Walmart for nice sturdy bikes how would one get them to the ones in need? I could not afford that but I could try to get us 80 bikes. I want to help out so please let me know.

I wanted to turn away but I couldn't. I do not expect someone to "solve" the problem. I admire the people working on it. Each effort made to save lives is good. I let myself imagine there being no war, as the local woman interviewed indicated was once the situation. Still "a hard rain's gonna fall," I fear, and our descendants will curse our name.

Dear Mr. MacSorley,

Thank you for the eye-opening report. I was shocked to say the least. How can one senior citizen on a fixed income help you in this humanatarian effort? Where could I send seeds and gardening tools?
Thank you again for your concise and profound words of how we can all help fight hunger!
May God Bless you and bless us all!
Paula


The Clintons, some public servants, raked in $109 million. No wonder >80% people think America is going in the wrong direction.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/23959790/for/cnbc/

The sadest part is that this is a small potato compared to the Bushes and Cheney's, let alone those evil Wall Street thugs.

A nation of the thieves, by the thieves, and for the thieves, shall always perish from the earth.

But as Dr. King reminds us, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

How can one possibly go through all this scenery in the Congo without asking where did all the kids come from? Why was no mention made of population control and what a wonderful cure that would be for hunger. Why grow more kids who want more food to grow more kids?

Mr. MacSorley, This was a wonderful program about the plight of normal people in the Congo, but I'd like your take on what I think is a related problem. Dr. Mark Hyman, who I also became familiar with through PBS, says that obesity is a sign of being over fed and under nourished. We have a health care crisis in this country due to an over abundance of chemistry in our processed and fast foods, and the over use of addictive and damaging substances such as high fructose corn syrup which is not found in Nature. The big food industry and big agriculture is killing the goose that laid the golden egg, and I'd like your comment this, and on how these same people are trying to export their agricultural methods and genetically modified food crops to other countries in order to get a strangle hold on production of those crops there.

Hi Juliana,

You make some good points however you cannot judge the DR Congo without also considering its complex past and how that has contributed to today's problems of poverty and neglect. There is a newly elected government - the first democratic elected government in over 40 years and major hostilities have now ended. So much has been achieved over the last few years. It's very early days in the life of this government as they attempt to address the challenges of this massive country and its population of 60 million.

Thanks,

Dominic

Keith, I just want to say hello. Aengus spoke of your great work many times.

All the best,

Dominic

Dominic: Where is the Congolese government in this story? What would it take for them to finance a program of seed distribution, micro-loans or local road improvements that could create jobs and other benefits? Why is it that when we see stories like this in Africa, governments manage to provide well for their militaries, (they obviously have some wealth from natural resources) but tend to ignore the consequences of their wars. Until these governments show any interest in helping their own citizens, or are pressured into it, their people will continue to suffer and will rely on your generous efforts.

Dear David,

Thanks for your observations. In the last 12 months I've been to Katanga four times and even in that period of time I've seen signifigant construction on the main roads North of Lumbumbashi. Some of this has been sponsored by the mining companies.

But where Concern is working is very remote and the road construction done in these areas have been done exclusively by organizations like Concern.

Thanks.

Dominic

Dear Shanti, yes you make a good point. The natrual resources of DR Congo are as much a curse as they are a blessing and have contributed signifigantly to decades of war.

Thanks.

Dominic

Thanks Kisha for your question. I grew up in Northern Ireland throughout the conflict. My father was a local doctor and worked with both sides of the community. He practiced tolerance and compassion. I think this influenced me in my decision to join Concern. But I'm not the hero here. The heros are the people who survive in times of conflict and try to feed their families on less than $1 per day. In situations of extreme poverty and inhumanity I have witnessed extraordinary kindness and heroism. I am only one of 4,000 people that work for Concern in 28 of the poorest countries of the world. And the people, like you, who support us are part of Concern as well.

Thanks.

Dominic

Mr. Moyers, Mr. MacSorley and Rev. Beckman,
I thank you personally and professionally for your work for and with people who live in poverty in our world. I teach social work in Louisiana and use your website and materials quite a bit. We will be participating in the Bread for the World offering of letters also. I have directed my students to this site and have posed the following questions to them. What is the impact of the farm bill on rural Louisiana and any of the developing countries which grow cotton, rice, corn or soybeans? How will passage of the farm bill as advocated by Bread for the World contribute to global economic justice? How would any of you answer these questions?
I am hoping to spark not only a sense of social justice in my students, but also a sense of global caring and concern which is becoming a larger part of American social work.

Thanks for everyone who offered to volonteer. My belief is everyone can do something to make a difference. Not everyone can get on a plane and go and work there. But if people are interested they in working overseas or volonteering at home, supporting an event - then you can check our website www.concernusa.org.

The one thing everyone can do is stay informed and spread the word.

Thanks for your comments, I'm really enjoying them.

Dominic

I have 30 years of experience in the Corporate world dealing with information systems that managed everything from nuts and bolts to oil refineries. I would like to see if I could use my knowledge and sweat to help organizations like yours be more efficient in using your resources to perform your work.

Do you think I might be of some service? How can I explore the possibilities? Am I crazy?

Thank you for your organizations efforts. I wish you luck.

I agree with Yara. While I have a great amount of concern for poverty, far too often it is the intentional misuse of power that creates poverty and chaos. There is profit in poverty and chaos, at least for some. I don't think it is irresponsible, but it is criminal I'm certain. World Banks, WTO, mega corporations,etc. have been given too much power to manipulate. Then caring, compassionate people follow along and try to clean up the mess. Or the same people who helped destroy go in to help build and charge it back to the poor of their own country. People who were once self-sufficient have seen their way of life taken from them, oftentimes due to foreign influences. This is global.

Dominic,
In the documentary, Tutu Moke mentionned Manono.

How far was the documentary shooted from Manono? How is the situation in Manono compared to Dubie and the other places showed?

Thanks.

Dear Deepti,

Thanks for your comment about the the bikes. Bikes of reasonable quality are locally available throughout the DR Congo.

The problem is not so much about getting bikes into the country, there are enough bikes there. It's cheaper to buy them there than ship them in. The priority at the minute is to get more seeds and tools out into the villages - that's what we need support for.

We need to keep rebuilding more roads, bridges, schools and developing clean water sources. These are key priorities that we need support on.

Best regards,

Dominic

I work in the bicycle industry in Minnesota. my company is Quality Bicycle products. we support the world bicycle relief. Many of the bikes you saw on the program were donated through WBR. it is really satisfying to see the bikes in use, and the abuse they undergo. I have a great deal of respect for the delivery riders. it makes any ride, or any race seem like a ride around the block compared to what they go through.

Also Permaculture is another answer for the people. All people could benefit.

google it.

T

I agree with Yara. While I have a great amount of concern for poverty, far too often it is the intentional misuse of power that creates poverty and chaos. There is profit in poverty and chaos, at least for some. I don't think it is irresponsible, but it is criminal I'm certain. World Banks, WTO, mega corporations,etc. have been given too much power to manipulate and soon we will give even more power to Mr. Bernanke's secret group of people. Caring, compassionate people follow along and try to clean up the mess. Or the same people who helped destroy go in to help build and charge it back to the poor of their own country. People who were once self-sufficient have seen their way of life taken from them, through tariffs, subsidies, etc., and they find themselves begging for help. This is global.

Dear Litany, we used about 200 bikes. These bikes were owned by the villagers themselves. It's true that the bikes get damaged on the roads but this is a country where people are very resourceful. They can keep bikes on the road for years.

Thanks for your question,

Dominic

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your continous excellence in journalism. The piece on the Congo which is just one of the many pieces that instigates debate around our kitchen table for nights to come is a wonderful piece of heartfelt journalism. Please continue the good work and clone and mentor your colleagues into covering the same worthy topics.

Many Warm Regards,
Brigid

Any thoughts about population control?
In 1981 the country (then Zaire) had 27 million people, considerably less than half its present population. Perhaps handing out condoms and birth control pills along with the food could be a start. Uganda allegedly has made some progress with birth control programs.

Dominic, Bill, David, great show. How can we bring this need to center stage in the US and Europe. We need to get Wall Street, Big Business, food companies, supermarkets, transportation companies, bicycle companies, delivery companies, and individuals to all help in one way or another. We should start small, getting one central blog or a few blogs together, a list server, along with emails getting the word out. Also accepting contributions, a grass roots PR campaign, on Oprah, You Tube, in Time, Newsweek, etc. Start with getting a small volunteer group together, promoting for help with these devastating issues, pulling support from local churches, radio stations, newspapers, politicians, charity organizations, musicians. Somehow if we could get 1 % sales of some productions, services for these needs, and possibly have a 5k race for hunger, with a goal to schedule this in half the states, things may mushroom out for this worthy cause.

Thanks for all the words of encouragement and support.I will certainly pass them onto our Concern team and Tutu the biker.


I am humbled by your good deeds. I would like to know if sustainable farming methods are being shared with the Congolese? There was mention of shipping fertilizer. Some fertilized is riddled with hazardous waste, including radiation. Recent studies have shown that more food can be grown organically without chemical fertilizers. Also Monsanto has repeatedly tried to dump genertically altered seeds in Africa. Please protect these kind people from this sort of predetory corporate practice. God Bless

Hello Dominic,
Thank you for all of your noble efforts. I think Bill is right, a lot of people will want to help out, myself included. Took a quick peek at the Concern site and will be making a donation. I also think the idea of donating bicycles, pumps, tires etc. is worth looking into if at all possible. I think a lot of people would love to help out but are hesitant to do so (mainly due to corrption within the organization or local agencies or gov. agencies) and this creates a nullifying cycle. The site states that "Concern works with local and International partners", how much oversite do you maintain when these kinds of collaborations are in place. Trust is the biggest asset any organization can have.
Thank you for all the work that you are doing.

Dominic, Congratulations to Concern for its tireless work among the poorest societies on earth. It’s the Agency’s vision of a more just world for the poor that led me to work with Concern in Bangladesh from 1976-79. It is heartening to see the same commitment and drive among today’s volunteers as there was 3 decades ago! Thankfully, some things don’t change! The work of Concern and the spirit of the Congolese people instill in all of us a sense of hope for tomorrow.

I understand the importance of legislation to help in the fight against hunger, but what can we do right now to help the people we saw on the program tonight? Can we send all terrain bikes; supplement the biker's salaries? There are many who want to help, but don't know where to start.

Mr. MacSorley,

I want to thank you for sharing your experiences in the Congo with the PBS viewers. This tragedy is almost never covered the media in the United States, even the alternative media. I was in RDC myself in 2006, though I was travelling around north of the Katanga Province.

If possible, I would be interested to hear your observations and views on the distribution of wealth in the Katanga Province. As the center of industrial mining, Lubumbashi, Kolwezi, Likasi, Tenke, and Kwila recieve the majority of the national government's attention as they reconstruct the mining contracts to try and generate more revenue for the state. My specific question is: Does Governor Katumbi have any provincial level programs to develop infrastructure around the area your organization is working in, or are all the efforts to reconstruct the infrastructure done on a more grassroots level? Thank you very much for your time and I wish you and your organization godspeed.

I have ordered the dvds from this week's and next week's Journal to show the small group of students I have the pleasure of advising ~ the mission of their student organization, ONE Curry, is to help spread awareness about global poverty and AIDS. They are currently raising money to build a well in Bor, Sudan. And, like the young French man, they are so disappointed and troubled by their peers lack of interest and support in their efforts and events. They just described to me the reality ~ word for word ~ about trying to reach their peers only to have their eyes "glaze over" in 5 minutes or less. Such is the bubble of the comfortable. But, these kids too believe in the Resurection ~ the hope that rises when being present (grace?) to another human being breaks through the self-imploding barriers of comfort and indulgence.
I can't wait to introduce them to Concern!
Patty

Hi Tracy .. thanks for your kind remarks.. you csan accees our US webiste at the following www.concernusa.org

Once aagin, thanks you

Dominic

I looked over Concern International's website to see how I could get funds to your organization quickly, it's all in British pounds. Lots of Americans will want to help, please talk to your staff about changing Concern's website so it'll accept American donations. Some of us will want to donate our time, some of us can only donate money - but we want to help in any way we can. Bless you for all you do, peace be with you.

Was there any mention of the deadly effect of the Cell Phone Cobalt mining effect, causing WARFARE???

Tonight's program was excellent. Showing the process and the people behind the scenes that make it work brought me back to those dusty roads and matope slicks in Kasulu where I used to work. We all must do something to help these people. The children will grow up to wonder why they were left to suffer such odds. Despite their dire situations, there remains hope and grace in their souls. Wanting to work and earn a living to care for their family is at the core of every African's being. We could do so much more on a substancially higher basis to make this a reality. Great job CONCERN and all the aid workers out there fighting the good fight daily. I encourage all of the good ideas posted here (bicycles and bulldozers) to follow up on those ideas and make them happen.

I need to join in with the many who thank you the young French citizen, the bikers and the citizens of the Congo. What can we do to help?

Thank you for this program this evening. I am going to send the CONCERN link to all of my friends to remind them that this conversation must continue. We cannot change the subject. We are all stakeholders! Thank you to all the volunteers who give us hope. And thank you for personalizing the story of the Congo and its people.

Demand, subsidies and tariffs, even global warming, perhaps, but I can't help thinking that the same irresponsible monetary policies that have inflated the price of oil and other commodities are also behind most of the sudden rise in the price of food, not just in this country, but in most of the rest of the world, which also uses dollars, or whose currencies are pegged to it. Even so, these countries, many of which have the commodities that ought to make them as rich as Russia, suffer the lack of government to realize it, as well as, from internecine wars that have destroyed the way-of-life which sustained them in the past, and have introduced epidemics, and vice versa.

Dominic,
I, like Deepti, would like to know more about the need for bicyles. I believe with my resources I could get hundreds of bicycles possibly with racks made to support the 200lb load. I would also be able to send parts and tools to fix and problem that may occur. Please contact me with any info.

Thanks Mike Z

Dominic:

David Beckmann told Bill he keeps going because he believes in the Resurrection. I saw you six years ago in Afghanistan on the Moyers show. What keeps you going?

I commend you on your work. I also found the last guests comments very important. Disparities in economic development will continue as long as trade policies do not integrate humanitarian and environmental concerns. I do have a question: do you see the level of hunger growing in Europe? I am from Maine, in the US, and we have had a growing number of people in the north of our state fall off of the unemployment tally when their benefits end, but they are still without work. These people are now hunting for the meat they eat and growing their own vegetables. They suffer through the winters with little heat and have had all utilities cut off. No one speaks of these casualties of globalization as they are hidden in a “land of plenty”.

Thank You Bill Moyers! I am still trying to get that flag pin speech out of the front of my mind from several years ago. Anyway, I was very moved by the young man with the French accent who reminded me so well of the lengths to which people will go to insist upon changing the subject. Here is a man who gave 6 months of his life to assist these victims and stayed even longer when he saw the magnitude of the problem. Upon returning home, his so-called friends had no more than 5 minutes to listen to his story.
Thank God that there are some folks like you who choose empathy over apathy!!

Dominic,
I, like Deepti am also very interested in the effort to get bike to the transporters in Dubie, I believe in your efforts and would like to help. With the resources I have I believe I could get hundreds of quality bike to the transporters along with parts and tools to fix any problems with the bikes that may come. Please ontact me with any info. Thanks Mike Z.

Great idea ... even bike tubes..
also .. the money that the bikers make is it enough to get them food to eat.. is there a way to donate to the biker themselves..

Thank you so much for all you're doing. You're such a blessing to these people. The documentary seemed more like a movie: a horror movie. And you're the hero who saves everyone in the end. How did you get started in this organization? Is the organization active in other countries? How can others help?

Your work is essential and eternal. I find myself with a feeling of anxiety that I am not doing enough globally to end world hunger and the suffering attached to it. Are there programs like yours that allow volunteers to roll up their sleeves and help, even if not full time? How else can individual citizens get involved?
Thanks, and God Bless.

Dominic: If one had an idea of getting a bulldozer donated, how difficult, logistically speaking, would it be to get it where it needs to be and approx. how much money would be needed?

I reported on Concern's work in Ethiopia for CBC in 1990 and was deeply moved by your organization, its work and especially its attitude toward the people it helped. Is there work, volunteer or low-paid, for a 66 year old woman in excellent health?

Does anyone know if one can get major bike manufacturers to donate bicycles across Africa? I'm serious. Of course they'd have to be tough bikes requiring minimum upkeep and that can be fixed really easily. Also, how about donations of pumps from pump manufacturers?

I think today's programme shows how important it is to consider the aspect of distribution in areas which are plagued with hunger. No amount of food provided by anyone is going to be of much use unless we can get it to the people who need it. There was a study somewhere which showed that the world has enough grain to wipe out hunger, but hunger still exists and people die of it. They die because of it because of poor distribution. What a travesty! We can send people into space but we can't send grain to people who need it! So is there an NG organization out there which actually is directly involved in distribution alone?

I am watching the special on pbs about your work in the congo. I was wondering how many bikes are needed in the effort? I mean i'm sure their bikes get broken up on the rocks.

Bill Moyers is the best hour on television bar none. I agree with Toni = I might lose my sanity if it weren't for Bill and the wonderful array of guests he has and such thoughtful discussion

Thank you Bill.

If I did not have Bill Moyers on Friday night to remind me that ALL the world is not crazy, I don't think I could hang on to my own sanity. Thank you.

Dominic: Can Americans use your methods to promote understanding and equity right here at home in our own deteriorating communities? Don't you have to let all classes and ethnicities have real influence at these organizing negotiations? I believe what I'm asking is, How important are experts really: Isn't informed consensus better?

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