Feb. 23, 2005
Democratic Republic of Congo
(ed. note: Don't miss Harrigan's explosive Congo series all this week on "Special Report," 6 pm ET.)
Our cameraman Rudden is down with what may be malaria. Watery eyes, flu, and a bad gut.
It's our last workday in Congo. We go to school with an 11-year-old who says she was raped by a U.N. peacekeeper. We went to her house to interview her and set up a plastic chair in the yard. In the background of the shot there is a rooster behind her, who walks from the right side of the screen to the left side, throughout the interview. Our translator Maryella asked the questions in Swahili, so I didn't know what was going on. For each of the victims we ask a series of questions: What exactly happened? When did it happen? How do you know who did it? Has there been any investigation? What are the physical and emotional aftereffects? Maryella knows how to do it well and is very gentle with small children. Sometimes before they get into the chair she puts her arm around them and talks to them.
Children can be the most difficult to interview. It's so hard to get them talking, especially about stuff like this. The 11-year-old had a dark round face. I watched her talk, but did not understand a word. Then towards the end of the interview she started crying. She did not have a tissue, so she used the flat part of her palm to wipe her eyes. She did not sob, but silent tears came out of her right eye. She rubbed each eye with the bottom of her left palm but it didn't help. She continued speaking softly, moving at the tears as if they were flies. Pete was behind her getting a two-shot and I asked him to come around front. Maryella kept asking questions, and the girl kept talking and rubbing under her eyes and her cheek. Her eyes got red. I asked Maryella to stop and help her.
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Dear Mr. Harrigan,
I am so incensed by this story. What can we do? How do we help? Please cover how we can help in your story, if possible. I have heard more and more on this story in recent days. I am so heartbroken for these children. I couldn't help but write. Thank you for covering the story.
Mrs. Elva Frye
Excellent story! Maybe Bill O'Reilly will help put legs on this one...I have one question... Who will investigate the UN? Liberty and Justice should be worldwide opportunity.
Thank you for letting me bloviate. (Thanks Bill!)
— Russ (Rochester Hills, MI)
Dear Mr Harrigan,
My heart is breaking after reading about the horrors these baby girls have been through, and I am angry.
How dare these blue hat 'saviors' come in and destroy these girls. Many of them will end up in prostitution, drugs and violence. This is disgusting. What is the UN doing about it? Why isn't this top news? This is far worse then the 'oil for food' fiasco. What can I do? How can I help these girls?
— Vicki (Ft Leonard Wood, MO)
May God bless you for the work you are doing. What can we do besides feeling sorrow and or pity? If we tell the story and offer no real help, we nothing more than story tellers. What now?
— Annette (Rio Hondo, Texas)
I have never been so moved and deeply hurt by a story. Seeing these innocent beautiful children so decimated by evil is heartbreaking. I genuinely want to help these little girls who have been savagely raped by the horrible men working for the UN. I would like to send financial help directly to any organization that is set up to care for these children. I would also like to organize people to write letters to our government officials so these atrocities can be stopped. Please either let me know who to contact for more information or do a story so we can find out what can be done to aid these innocent victims.
Thank you for bringing these events to our attention . . . your work is truly appreciated!
Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.