Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Thank you, Congo

Thank you, Congo. Your mineral rich land, which provides the materials used in manufacturing cell phones and computers has benefitted all of us. Well, except you, of course, Congo. Your unimaginable riches have done so little to enrich you.
Inconceivable crimes are committed against the Congolese by those terrorizing them: warlords, technology companies, even their own government, in the quest to get Congo’s minerals to those who sell technology and, ultimately, in the interest of those of us who buy it.
Five million people have died in Congo since 1996. 1,100 women are raped in Congo everyday. Hundreds of thousands of Congolese people are displaced. Men, women, and children live in constant fear for their lives.
The violence and war in Congo is driven and perpetuated by greed. Greed is so powerful that the crisis in Congo is universally called “the deadliest war since World War II” and “the rape capital of the world”. So, thank you and, on behalf of all of us technology users, I’m sorry, Congo.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is massively rich with natural resources, but sadly, the Congolese do not reap the benefits of their land because the corrupt militia steals the goods they mine. This is why these ill-gotten goods are often called “conflict minerals”.
There are approximately 200,000 miners in eastern Congo, where the conflict minerals create about $700 million per year. Because the average citizen accumulates virtually no money from their own land and intense labor, Congo is in rough shape. There are no roads, no bridges, scarce food, and no running water; among thousands of other deprivations Congolese face every day.
Fidel Bafilemba, research consult to the Enough Project, a Washington DC group committed to ending genocide and crimes against humanity, bravely fights for Congo. He states, “Congo is victim to its own natural resources… the Congo crisis, it’s a business. It’s economically driven.” The reason that the conflict minerals create so much money is because those specific minerals are used in everything electronic. Being a highly technology-dependent world, those minerals are in high demand.
Nearly all of the crisis’ in Congo could be solved if companies researched where and from whom they are purchasing their minerals, and stopped buying conflict minerals. Manufacturers need to buy in ways that respect and do not exploit the Congolese miners.
Unfortunately, few people know about the issue. Paul Freedman, producer, director, and filmmaker is trying to raise awareness of the crisis. Through his film, Merci Congo, viewers are given an inside look at the lives of those affected by the crisis and those trying to fix it. This is a moving, thought provoking film showing resilience and hope, as well as many ways to help the cause, the most important of which is for consumers to demand that the products they buy be manufactured with conflict-free minerals. Merci Congo will be streaming on until January 9th.
So, thank you, Congo, and I’m sorry, Congo. I’m sorry for the atrocities that have been committed against you. Thank you, and we will do better to be responsible about the sourcing of our technology goods.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Thank you, Congo