war

Episode 28: Murhula Zigabe - Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo remains an enigma to many in the West, and for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the lack of coverage, the singular focus on violence and poverty, or the silent bigotry that informs many Western attitudes towards the fortunes of Africans more generally. Many of the root causes of human suffering continue to get ignored while aid money pours in, resources pour out, and little changes to improve the lives of the people. Murhula is one example of the many positive stories from the Congo that we don’t hear about much. He’s from the eastern part of the DRC, and by watching Youtube videos managed to find a solution to multiple problems faced by his community, including environmental degradation, unemployment, poverty, lack of education, and autonomy for women. It centers on recycling organic waste into eco-charcoal for cooking. Sound like an unlikely solution? I thought so too until we connected for this episode.

In our conversation we also set his work against the backdrop of the DR Congo’s recent history, in particular the wars of the mid 90’s and early 2000’s that claimed approximately 5 million lives, and the ongoing use of rape as a weapon of war on a scale that sees a woman raped nearly once every minute. However, this conversation is not a catalogue of miseries and grievances. Murhula is an optimist, and perhaps after listening to his story you will be too, and maybe you’ll be inspired to look at the DRC and Africa a little differently.

Check below for more info about Murhula’s projects, and for some helpful videos to learn more about the DRC.

 

For a quick history lesson…

 
Murhula’s Website and articles about his work.

Murhula’s Website and articles about his work.

 

Feature-length documentary films…

 
 

Episode 5: Aram AlSaed, From Syria to Berlin, Part 1 of 2

Aram AlSaed was a paramedic and a student of fine arts before he left Syria in 2015, traveling by bus, plane, boat, and by foot to reach Germany, while stopping along the way to provide medical and translation support for other refugees.

In this first of a two-part interview, I speak with him about life in Syria before the war, when things began to change, his work as a paramedic in Syria, when he realized that it was time for he and his brother to leave, and his journey up to the German border. 

Be sure to browse the additional content provided below for current information on the state of the refugee crisis in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. 

And be sure to catch the second half of the interview in the next episode. 

 

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Are You Syrious provides daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

 

Information resources for refugees & asylum seekers...

There are more than 60,000 refugees in Greece and an overwhelming demand for information to understand what is happening to them. Refucomm is a nonprofit registered in Germany and working in Greece to provide multilingual instruction materials and videos that inform people about their rights, asylum procedures, and how to prepare for their interviews.