Friday, June 26, 2009

Fatal attraction

Listen up, because I'm gonna lay a guilt trip on you. When you buy a new cell phone, laptop, video games system, or MP3 player, you are very likely contributing to the largest war-related death toll since World War II.

I'm talking about the conflict in the Congo that has claimed the lives of 6 million people, and displaced millions more to neighbouring countries.

As detailed on the Adbusters website, the tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold mined in the Congo, and used in our electronics products, are the chief source of financing for the armed militias that wage wars, terrorize and kill civilians, and rape women and girls.

The growing awareness of this is giving rise to a grassroots movement targeted at electronics companies that are using these "conflict minerals," sometimes unwittingly. A bill that would require greater disclosure by manufacturers is working its way through the U.S. Senate.

Pressuring technology companies is unlikely to have the desired result, however, because the mines are not the fundamental problem. They are a valuable national asset, and potentially an important building block in the country's development. The problem is the ongoing turbulence involving warlords, ethnic cleansing, and external interference. People continue to lead terror-filled lives, and die from disease and malnutrition, while the rest of the world stands aside and allows it to continue.

1 comment:

  1. I agree - what's the solutin? Stop using technogy? I don't think so. We need a viable solution to the problem.