The VICE Guide to Congo

The VICE Guide to Congo

2011, Society  -   43 Comments
Ratings: 8.46/10 from 41 users.

The VICE Guide to CongoThe Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world and thanks to an insanely complicated mix of politics, armed conflict, and corruption... it's also one of the most under-reported.

It also happens to be home to a nondescript black rock known as Coltan... a vital ingredient in the production of nearly every cell phone and computer on the planet.

Without Coltan, our technology-driven lives would come to a screeching halt, and Congo has 80% of the world's supply.

Since the mid nineteen-nineties, armed groups have used these minerals to fund a series of fantastically complicated and horrifically violent wars.

Vice founder Suroosh Alvi travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo and makes one of the most grueling treks of his life to see first-hand where this so-called conflict mineral comes from and to meet some of the rebels involved in the seemingly never-ending conflict in Eastern Congo.

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43 Comments / User Reviews

  1. John Linnemeier

    Congo is under reported largely because it's so damned dicey to go there. I've been shot twice, almost died of malaria, typhoid and hepatitis, seen famines, wars, riots and revolutions, but I'm 73 now and Congo would likely kill me, so all I can do is salute you guys for what you people around the world a no bullshit picture of what's going on in difficult places they'll never see but need to understand.

  2. Jean-Sébastien Doddridge Hinse

    If the congolese cannnot take control of the minerals in their own country, they will continue serving our interests and dying because of disorganization and failure to keep power. Its all about power and if you can't keep it because you lost most wars in your country, thats just too bad.

    1. Me

      I hope you’ve researched the subject more in the past few years. I try not to comment if I don’t know anything of value. The average age of a Congolese citizen... last point in time they were able to have peaceful, normal life prior to becoming personal property of a single European... then to have “independence” and democratic elections only to have foreign nations assasinate your leader & install their puppet. Civil wars? That’s an oxymoron. Take control? Talk about blaming the victim. There are not poor! People don’t come from afar to pillage if you’re poor. That’s what the thieves want the world to think...

  3. Gloria Newton


  4. MarkW99

    The General and others were probably pretty high on local hallucinogens and stimulants. Nutty place with no easy answers for sure.

    It's interesting to read Conrad and see that over a century later there's still an undercurrent of greed and corruption fueling murderous violence. Cursed with natural resources - what a strange paradox for a nation.

  5. brutusaurio

    You have to be a bit crazy to go to that place.
    Did you see the eyes of the general?
    Something strange, isn't it?

  6. misterwong

    I feel Jesus would weep at the horror done in the name of His enlightened message.Be warned,however..powerful Evangelical agents still bed themselves with politicians to exert a suffocating influence on a free thinking society in America.The Congo is a turbulent battlezone for precious resources.All the religion on earth cannot rescue it from greed and corruption..our insatiable first -world voraciousness will ultimately suck it dry and leave it a desolate ruin..and all for what?

    1. Ryan Han

      You say "All the religion on earth cannot rescue it from greed and corruption".

      Well, religion IS the cause of greed and corruption.

  7. BeardHero420

    The VICE crew is badass. True-life, gritty realism - grade A journalism.

    Keep it up. And hit Myanmar sometime.

  8. Muerte

    @ Epicurus: How they started has nothing to do with what they do now. Look up Virtue Worldwide. "We help global brands find new ways of communicating with the world's youth." - a good enough reason to "throw hate" at them in my book.
    @ misterwong: I'm not saying the horrors there should not be shown. I'm just saying that these people might not be the best to do it. Their only redeaming quality is having the stones to go there. As for christianity, don't get me started.

    1. misterwong

      I certainly agree..but SOME nutjobs must go where Angels fear to tread to slap us out of our syndicated news slumber!Ignorance is NOT bliss.Gung Ho Go for Broke journalism..Not for the timid

  9. Martin Francis White

    Bang on! Scariest documentary I have seen and I lived in Africa for 25 years. Nothing more frightening than kids with AK 47s. Vice team very brave or daft.

    Well done.

  10. Bilbo Baggins

    You have to be uber dedicated to human rights to even think of doing what the VICE channel has done.

    Major thanks to the VICE channel.

  11. Bilbo Baggins

    The VICE channel is ******* NUTS to do this!

    I'd be pissing my pants going anywhere near that place.

  12. PavolvsBitch

    Ultimately, it is 'we' who drive this global gulag to its inevitable conclusions. We are choosing to support the means by which we are controlled. All people have to do is switch off the TV and chuck it away somehow or recycle parts. All people have to do is get rid of the mobile phones and not use them. But they won't. No matter what the cost to themselves and others, they can't, they're addicted to machines.

    We are killing eachother for the sake of our enemies 'convenience' thinking it's for our own. We are idiots.

    1. Robyn318

      Before we can do anything of substance to improve the conditions on this planet, we have to come to terms with the fact that we as a species have an addictive personality disorder. Whether it is food, sex, Internet gaming, work, alcohol, drugs, violence, television or cell phones we have an inherent craving to over indulge. Is this a biological anomaly, or are mass marketing research gurus manipulating us? Until we find this answer and remedy the problem nothing will change except the timing and cost of the new addiction.

  13. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

    Good doc

  14. misterwong

    And of course,history has shown us the fate of ALL peoples who have experienced the salvation of Christianity..Genocide.Slavery.The destruction of entire cultures,art,language,engineering,mathematics,astronomy,navigation,agriculture..Christianity robbed the indiginous people of the world of their gold.their culture.Their Science,in exchange for disease,lives of humiliating servitude and poverty disenfranchisement from their own culture and land.I spit on your salvation.You religious mercenaries nauseate me with your self righteous arrogance.You have brought only ignorance,death and misery over centuries of greed -propelled expansionism.Quod Erat Demonstrandum.Thus it has been proved.Deny THAT,if you dare

    1. PavolvsBitch

      And of course, when we look at the damage 'christianity' has wrought, we are well advised to also look at the roots of that cult which are firmly entranched in Judaism, Rosicrusionism, Druidic magickal practices. The Babylonian Talmud, The Torah, The Tarot - all sign languages of those fashioned each cult belief that their version of 'gods word' and thier given prophets are the one truth to they, the 'chosen ones'. In This Sign Conquer; the Cross/X represents The Knights Templars, The Maltese Cross, The Cardinal Points, the burden the sacrificial lambs and goats must bear and be bound to and by.

      Hiding behind the flags of host nations, these vipers set out to 'christainise' the world, sending their black assassins, the Jesuits to do the task of torture and murder in preparation for colonisation. The Cross was already in lands to greet their arrival, much to their surprise.

      As long as mankind falls for this ridiculous flattery that they are the 'chosen ones' they are bound to justify the slaughter of those of differing cults. All given by the same hands operating today under the guise of religion, charity, foreign aid, sustainability, diversity and of course, equality.

      The hot spot light on the RC Church and their pederasty, should NOT deflect attention away from (as is the purpose) ALL other cults and religions, particularly The Anglican, Church of England mob. Every religion, including this 'new age' horror calls for ritual sacrifice on a massive scale whilst rendering the hypnotised into a catatonic state whereby they are continually on their knees 'praying' to their demonic god to slaughter their imaginary foes and 'rescue' them from any nasty mess they've helped create, whisking them off in the clouds, up up and away, beyond the chemtrails somewhere, to gloat at their less fortunate victims below. And they're all at it!

      The worst is yet to come when the lunatic Earth First battallions of 'hitler's youth' set loose.

    2. SFXkilla

      Thank You. That is exactly how I feel. I only wish I had your eloquence. I get very angry everytime I hear someone say something good that christianity has done for the world

  15. misterwong

    The reaction of many via the comments,is woefully predictable.When confronted with horror,inhumanity,the resources of our first-world lifestyle;we must deny our participation in egregious,vicious corruption.After all,our kids need their tech-fix.The denial is like the Holocaust disbelief.It is so wretched,it MUST be a hoax.A lie.It is PROPAGANDA.It is faulty journalism.It can't be proved,therefore,it does not exist.Our consciences and sense of humanity are still clean..thank God.Just some distasteful sensationalistic garbage..everything is just fine..If a heap of Congoese corpses were piled on your driveway,you would still think it was some Plot to raise your cellphone rates.You people are blinded by your slavish addiction to guilltless delusion.The corporate masters own your souls.You are cowards and you should be ashamed


    i just watched this, and also saw the North Korea one- both great episodes. it is not the whole story but expecting that would be unrealistic so VICE is great for giving a perspective seldom seen on mainstream news.

  17. fonbindelhofas

    part 1, 2:48 couldnt help myself and rofl:D no offence

  18. Kristian

    Thank you vice for the brief insight. I don't think there is any sensationalism. It is a dangerous place and that is shown and discussed. I also have no idea what will save any country.

  19. Muerte

    Journalism? Their whole gimmick is based around sensationalism, shock value and exploitation. VICE's little "media empire" has a single purpose: showing rich people in the "civilized countries" how much worse off they could be. And making a whole lot of money from it.

    1. Guest

      Isn't that what journalism is all about? sensationalism. I didn't say smart editorials!

    2. Epicurus

      lol making a whole lot of money? do you know anything about Vice or how they started?

      they dont claim to be a non-profit orginization first of all, and they are putting themselves on the line for other peoples education and entertainment.

      its amazing how some people can throw hate around at groups that really have done nothing wrong or immoral.

  20. Just Harry

    Despite the west's holier-than-thou mentality - declaring a boycott of Congo's coltan - all the major refiners in the west have developed ways and means of buying coltan - re-routing through South Africa and South America.

  21. Guest

    That's journalism! "I need immodium he says!" lol Great doc!
    It is because of guys like them that we get a view of an entire other world. In a way it reminded me of a red ant hill that lived behind my house in Austin Texas, something no one wanted to get close to but had to despite the fear.

  22. Michael Shea

    I don't want someone to Die over my needs and likes. God is watching from above. The time is almost here. When Our lord comes to save us all.

    1. Qb1T

      Be the change you want to see in the world.

  23. Michael Shea

    You can have my cell phone back.

  24. drinker69

    Whats the big deal about all this Africa stuff. The answer has come. That answers name is George Clooney. He will help the good people of the sub-continent open a few bags of rice, tell some 9 year old they're extremely brave for having their arms blown off and go on a stroll through the safest area of whatever country he's in all in front of the camera no less. I can see his trademark sh*t eating grin as he lets the rest of the civilised world know whats going on and how bad it is and how little we know and maybe we should do something about it. Who knows, he might even bring a few of the orphaned children back to the West as souvenirs for his hollywood or political chums. The ones who's parents were eaten by the next tribe over. No strings you see. Heck, he could make a night of it. I bet he would have his pals over for the evening at his palatial villa on Lake Como. They'd sip champagne and laugh as Georgey boy hands out his new gifts.
    "Where's Jim? Here, this ones for you." Servant brings into livingroom dark black 5 year old child.
    "Aww. Nice. Man. George, you never stop man. Where did you get this child from again?"
    "Umm. Christ." Looks to Assistant. "Where were we last week?"
    "The Sudan."
    "Yes. Yes. Sudan. Craaazy place Jim. So dusty. Do you like it? How's your glass? Refill?"

    1. markq_99

      Nah drinker69....

      We need to send some christians over there to show them the way. If they dont submit, show them the 'act of tolerance'. Bring their 'feet to the fire'. Heck, they might be witches and we KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM HUH?
      And of course its Clooney and his do goody-good liberals that are the problem. Always looking for the camera.

    2. John L Cannon

      @marq_99 I hate t b insulting but ur ignorance and lack of the knowlede of the religion u process, is truly astounding!

    3. markq_99

      What a r e you talking about?

    4. Eric Abram

      I hope you are joking...

    5. markq_99

      About what please?

    6. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      The sad thing is, he is intelligent enough to know that in our global system of profit over everything else, africa will never change, except to get worse. Him and bonos of the world only add to the problem.

  25. adilrye

    The Vice Guides are the best travel shows you will ever see. I'm really happy their back on their game.

    It's kind of funny how true that last statement was: "in Congo, a guy with a gun and an agenda can have his own little kingdom."

    1. PavolvsBitch

      It's always been that way. How do you think the 'floundering fathers' ethnically cleansed, or 'land cleared' settlements for Irish and English (to a far lesser degree (ahem) the Scots) white slavery programme to propogate and generate the lands for commercial tobacco and hemp - later cotton to surplant it, because Hemp was durable, accessible and easily avilable as it should be to all men and women to access and use. Cotton is a horrible blight on nature, requires 'scientific' backbreaking attention and harvesting - it is a hazard to the health and therefore as 'man made' easily patented worldwide on the free trade slave movement.

      Those guys with guns first took over Rome, then London then Washington then Palestine in that era as 'homebases' with their emperic outlands or satellites/colonies. America was a British Colony and still is. It was done by Pyrates applying thier 'maritime' laws which they implanted within countries to become nations to become one world. Now. But the regime is changing any day soon and WE will be 'Congo' with invasion via 'foreign aid'. We'll get so much 'aid' we'll beg and plead and prey for 'them' to stop sending it.

      Just as the peoples of Africa, India, Asia have 'benefitted' from 'our' contributions to this and charity, ngo 'aid/relief' missions, leaving millions displaced, dehydrated, starving.

      That's justice for you. The law of return.

  26. dmxi

    the EU are now planning to implement a refund system for handys,so customers bring back the device for recycling purpose.only that won't change the exploitation of poor countries with rare resources.

    1. PavolvsBitch

      we are those poor countries and our resources have been plundered. resources such as the land and food, air and water for starters. they are now 'rare-ified' and we have been sucked dry supporting the rape of the resources of Africa and everywhere. We've paid in taxes, grown food, exports, donated to charities, have funds diverted to 'aid'. All for this purpose and result. We have been impoverished in order to impoverish others.