Friday, October 02, 2009

Our mobiles are bleeding

We don't want to think too much about it. But every time we buy a new gadget we support a mining industry of questionable ethics. In the case of the mines in eastern Congo it is extraordinary brutal.

In a time of desperate need for re-forestation to fight climate change, in Congo wide swaths of jungle have been cleared to make way for 15,000-25,000 poor boys and men working under slave-like conditions, living in tents on mud, guarded by "autonomous" army units, earning little while risking their lives. Although a violent environment the biggest killers are diseases and collapsing caves.

A movie about these mines, Blood in the Mobile, is in the works. The trailer is ready:

(If you haven't seen Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain at least watch the trailer for the music which is taken from that film. Beautiful!)

As they say:
"Different armed groups are fighting to gain control over the mine."

Furthermore, has a slideshow of 34 photographs: The Incredible Story of Conflict Mineral Mining in Images.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, scene of the deadliest conflict since World War II, remains mired in violence in significant part because of the international demand for electronic products that requires minerals found in the eastern Congo. The minerals mined here are used to make our iPhones, laptops and MP3 players, but at a great expense. Armed groups finance themselves through the illicit conflict mineral trade and fight over control of mines and taxation points inside Congo.

Congo is mentioned in the 100 Places to Remember project (see previous post). But it only concerns the deforestation of the precious original Itubi forest; home to the Mbuti pygmy people, endangered leopards, chimps, okapis etc. Deforestation not only removes essential carbon sinks it releases CO2 corresponding to about a fourth of the worlds fossil fuel use.

More: Official Blood in the Mobile website, Raise Hope for Congo.


  1. Nearly forgot The new blood diamonds

    "This year has seen a major spike in human rights violations, in particular violence against women and girls, the abduction of children as soldiers or sex slaves, the burning of houses or entire villages, and the systematic looting of civilians. The humanitarian crisis has deepened dramatically with half a million newly displaced since the beginning of 2009. All this is fueled by a scramble for one of the world’s richest non-petroleum resource bases, overlaid by a Congolese government offensive backed by the United Nations, a destructive campaign for which Secretary Clinton should urge immediate suspension. [...] the Congolese government actually promotes insecurity to allow its top officials to enrich themselves in the illegal smuggling of Congo’s natural resources, and neighboring Rwanda’s and Uganda’s economic growth is in part fueled by their involvement in the smuggling and violence."

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