Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Bronx tragedy makes for tough interview
When I looked Moussa Magassa in the face, I knew I was staring at a man living through the worst of possible nightmares. Moussa had lost five of his 11 children in a house fire, and as I talked to him outside his destroyed apartment building in the Bronx, I was worried about what to ask him.

Interviewing people is an integral part of my job, but there is no tougher interview than talking with someone who has suffered like Moussa. That is why his kindness and graciousness were so noteworthy when we asked him how he was handling this tragedy.

The immigrant from the African country of Mali told us that average everyday people were helping him cope. He told us he wanted to "thank everybody in New York City" for being supportive of him and his family.

Like many Muslim men from West Africa, Moussa has more than one wife. He lived in his Bronx apartment with two wives who both survived the fire. One of his wives, Manthia lost five of her seven children. The other four children brought into the world by his wife Aissa all survived.

Polygamy is illegal in the United States, which has made many worry that Moussa and his family could find themselves in legal turmoil. But polygamists have not been prosecuted in this country for decades, unless the marriages involve underage girls.

Moussa spent much of this day in a mosque in his Bronx neighborhood. He was surrounded by dozens of other men as they said their daily prayers. As composed as he seemed to be, Moussa Magassa knows he has never needed God's compassion more than he does now.
Posted By Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent: 11:16 AM ET
  8 Comments
As long as Mr. Magassa supports his wives and children himself, rather than milk the social system like the Warren Jeffs' families, then no one really cares how he lives. Everyone understands loss but for Mr. Magassa, it is on a magnitude that none of us will ever comprehend. It is nice to see the people of New York coming together for this family.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki, Calgary, Alberta : 11:36 AM ET
Once again NY shows it true colors as a city. This family suffered a loss that God willing, the rest of us will never know, and once again the city rallies. The Statue of Liberty stands proud over this melting pot of tolerance.
I truly feel for the family, but am once again reminded why New York is so nice they named her twice.
Posted By Anonymous S. Rockafellow Levittown PA : 12:22 PM ET
I feel so bad for Mr. Magassa. It is great that the community is rallying around him and helping him to deal with his losses. That just goes to show everyone here and in the world, that no matter who you are, what race, or religion that in the end we Americans can put that aside to help our neighbors in there time of need.
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 12:38 PM ET
Anytime children die it is a tragic story. But why is no one asking why 14 people were living in such a confined area to begin with? You can feel sorry for these parents, sure, but they were the ones over-crowding their children and putting them at risk. Look at it this way, if a mother drives a minivan that seats 7 kids with 11 kids on board and gets into a crash where 5 of them die because they were not strapped into seatbelts. Who do you blame for that? These parents placed their children in harms way.
Posted By Anonymous Milena, Ft. Lauderdale, FL : 1:27 PM ET
The public sympathy and monetary support in a tragic situation such as this is a wonderful American trait. We are the most generous nation on earth. However (the polygamy issue aside for a second), isn't 14 people in one aparatment against some housing law? People are in the most dangerous situations and our public services and government are expected to overlook the choices these people make when they have eleven children and violate all kinds of laws.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago ILj : 1:30 PM ET
Maybe you should ask how their amoral lifestyle led to the tragedy...
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 4:00 PM ET
For a parent to lose one child is a terrible loss. To lose five children at one time is a loss no parent should have to bear.

Regardless of what someone may feel about polygamy, this is a tragedy which deserves all of our compassion.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 4:02 PM ET
I don't understand the double standard that polygamists in this country face. What I mean when I say that is there are so many things that we respect about other religions and cultures. Things we would not dare impose or restrict. Native Americans have certain rights based on religion or tradition. Just come to WI during sturgeon spearing season. Then we allow parents who don't beleive in Doctors and medicine to watch their children die over something treatable, and we allow them not to vaccinate. In schools parents can opt out of certain subjects or themes. I just don't understand our hang-ups sometimes.
Posted By Anonymous Renae, Appleton, WI : 4:44 PM ET
ABOUT THE BLOG
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.



ARCHIVES
• 01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006
• 02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006
• 02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006
• 02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006
• 02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006
• 03/05/2006 - 03/12/2006
• 03/12/2006 - 03/19/2006
• 03/19/2006 - 03/26/2006
• 03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006
• 04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006
• 04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
• 04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006
• 04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006
• 04/30/2006 - 05/07/2006
• 05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006
• 05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006
• 05/21/2006 - 05/28/2006
• 05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006
• 06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
• 06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006
• 06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006
• 06/25/2006 - 07/02/2006
• 07/02/2006 - 07/09/2006
• 07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006
• 07/16/2006 - 07/23/2006
• 07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006
• 07/30/2006 - 08/06/2006
• 08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006
• 08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006
• 08/20/2006 - 08/27/2006
• 08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006
• 09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006
• 09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006
• 09/17/2006 - 09/24/2006
• 09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
• 10/01/2006 - 10/08/2006
• 10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006
• 10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006
• 10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
• 10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006
• 11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006
• 11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006
• 11/19/2006 - 11/26/2006
• 11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006
• 12/03/2006 - 12/10/2006
• 12/10/2006 - 12/17/2006
• 12/17/2006 - 12/24/2006
• 12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
• 12/31/2006 - 01/07/2007
• 01/07/2007 - 01/14/2007
• 01/14/2007 - 01/21/2007
• 01/21/2007 - 01/28/2007
• 01/28/2007 - 02/04/2007
• 02/04/2007 - 02/11/2007
• 02/11/2007 - 02/18/2007
• 02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
• 02/25/2007 - 03/04/2007
• 03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
• 03/11/2007 - 03/18/2007
• 03/18/2007 - 03/25/2007
• 03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007
• 04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007
• 04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007
• 04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007
• 04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007
• 04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007
• 05/06/2007 - 05/13/2007
• 05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
• 05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007
• 05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007
• 06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007
• 06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
• 06/17/2007 - 06/24/2007
• 06/24/2007 - 07/01/2007
• 07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
• 07/08/2007 - 07/15/2007
• 07/15/2007 - 07/22/2007
• 07/22/2007 - 07/29/2007
• 07/29/2007 - 08/05/2007
• 08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
• 08/12/2007 - 08/19/2007
• 08/19/2007 - 08/26/2007
• 08/26/2007 - 09/02/2007
• 09/02/2007 - 09/09/2007
• 09/09/2007 - 09/16/2007
• 09/16/2007 - 09/23/2007
• 09/23/2007 - 09/30/2007
• 09/30/2007 - 10/07/2007
• 10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007
• 10/14/2007 - 10/21/2007
• 10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007
• 10/28/2007 - 11/04/2007
• 11/04/2007 - 11/11/2007
• 11/11/2007 - 11/18/2007
• 11/18/2007 - 11/25/2007
• 11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
• 12/02/2007 - 12/09/2007
• 12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007
• 12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007
• 12/23/2007 - 12/30/2007
• 12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008

SUBSCRIBE
    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.