This question was asked by Eric Daniel Metzger, the director of a new film, Reporter, (HBO documentary, premiered Feb. 18) about how the writer and NYTimes op ed columnist Nicholas Kristoff finds his stories in the heart of the Congo, honing in on one individual at a time, whose suffering is so great that it outrages the reader enough to inspire action. I saw this interview on David Brancaccio’s excellent program, NOW (Feb. 12).
We are living at a time when the daily news is so horrific that we’re shutting down to tragedy and settling into a kind of psychic numbness, finding it more and more difficult to think or care deeply about people and issues that are half a world away.
Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn have written a book, Half the Sky, which deals with violence toward women worldwide and what women are doing to turn their despair into prosperity. Many of the solutions in poverty-stricken and war torn Congo are being initiated by courageous and determined women against all odds; women who have suffered through the worst fighting since WWII, been repeatedly raped, their children kidnapped, their homes destroyed. This devastation has lasted seven years with more than four million dead. I recommend that you read this disturbing, powerful , and inspirational book.
When David asked what we can do to help the people suffering in this war, the answer came: “Figure out what moves you most and take your own path. Look on line under Congo Crisis/Help.” I did this and the first thing that came up was Women For Women International. My eyes were opened. There are so many things we can do.
Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn are speaking at my high school alma mater, Emma Willard, in Troy, NY, on Feb. 23rd. Last year at this time I wrote about Greg Mortenson’s presentation at the same venue. I congratulate E.W. on introducing their students to such important world issues.