Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Condition Critical: Eastern Congo

Bahati's Story - Condition Critical from duckrabbit on Vimeo.



Benjamin Chesterton of the award-winning duckrabbit has done another jaw-dropping job with Condition Critical, a highly commendable and important project for Medecins Sans Frontieres.

As Ben says:
"I've finished four videos on the Congo subtitled into eight languages to run on a website where people can leave messages to be translated and put up in the camps and clinics in Eastern Congo. The strongest thing about this project is that all you hear is the voices of the Congolese affected by the violence."

Here's some background of the Eastern Congo's conflict. It's the world's deadliest conflict since the second world war and yet the majority of people have never heard of it. According to the IRC at least at least 5 million Congolese have died in more than a decade of conflict sparked off by the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda. Most of the deaths are linked to a lack of medical facilities as the ability to access medical care in Eastern Congo has crumbled with the war. The four videos on the Condition Critical website give voice to the pain and trauma of those caught up in the conflict, bearing witness to their dignity and attempts to survive the conflict.

In Ben's own words:

"Told only in their own voices all the website asks you to do is send a message of support. At first that might sound a bit daft. I mean why send a message of support to people I know nothing of? Surely what they need is cash, right? Well first off if you watch the videos you can find out a little about their lives, that they're not that much different to you and me except that they've been caught up in an unforgiving conflict. Secondly messages of support do make a difference. I know this because last year I worked in camps in Kenya and the thing that people were most frightened of was being forgotten, the sense that no-one cared. That's what leads to depression and despair. Worse than that, when no-one cares people get away with murder, literally."

So the fact that MSF will take these messages and share them in the camps and clinics will make a difference. It will also give a huge morale boost to the MSF staff working in Eastern Congo.

People can do four great things:

1. Leave a message of solidarity on the map
2. Twitter about it and link to it on Facebook (for Twitter use #conditioncritical)
3. Embed one of the video's on their blogs.
4. Write something about the project"


It's worthwhile to reiterate what Ben realized from his time in the Kenya camps:

"...the thing that people were most frightened of was being forgotten, the sense that no-one cared. That's what leads to depression and despair. Worse than that, when no-one cares people get away with murder, literally."

So show you care.