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This post is a while overdue. As I am sure you know, Medecins Sans Frontier launched Condition: Critical this year. It is a website to bring together the many stories of victims of the war, assemble video and photo tools for activism and to leave messages of support. That’s right … no money, just a letter and awareness.

As part of the effort, my mate Ben has had his hand in the first four videos pushed out to the world. Ben’s summary of this conflict and humanitarian situation;

“Its 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.”

Ben’s team trained the comms people out in the field to gather stories and then they edited it to relay the stories in a powerful, respectful way. First hand tales and simple honest images. No gore, only testimony.

Drawing the War is the troubling tale of a boy carried away by opposition forces and set to work.

There are four videos from the MSF Condition Critical campaign on duckrabbit vimeo profile. The other three are Mishoka’s Story, Bahati’s Story, and Francoise’s Story.

So it seems that Ben has had some success in challenging and changing the public relations that non-profits and charities have to their global audience. Now all he, us and the people of Congo require it awareness, effort and mindshare.

Ben has asked us to do one or four of four 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. Tewfic, Mark, Charlie, Mediastorm, Daniel and Boing have done their bit. Pass it along.


I also recommend following the MSF Photoblog, managed by Bruno Decock (I think) as it endeavours (commendably) in public to deliver relevant balanced, effective, non-sensational and representative photographs of Africa. Not easy!

Photographers Dominic Nahr, Julie Remy, Martin Beaulieu, Robin Meldrum, Yasuyoshi Chiba and Cedric Gerbehaye have been involved in the collaborations with MSF for Condition Critical.


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