Monday, October 20, 2014

Consider the Cost - $666$

Technology has played a vital role in modernizing the the world we live in today.  Modern computerized technology allows transactions to get processed quicker and communication transmitted with speed.  Tablets and phones with various apps and Internet access entertains and arrests the attention of doting owners.

There is great anticipation among some consumers for the latest release of a digital device that has 6 letters in it's brand name.  Can you guess which one?  The IPhone6 promises a total of 6 improvements/features (points below taken from the website advert):

  1. Bigger/Better
  2. Larger/Thinner
  3. More Powerful
  4. Power efficient
  5. Smooth Metal Surface
  6. Retina HD Display
These new features makes lives easy for some and to others bring temporary pleasure, companionship and entertainment; Have you ever considered the cost?

It is reported that people in the Democratic Republic of Congo are virtually enslaved to mine columbite–tantalite coltan by militia. Coltan is a necessary ingredient in modern laptops and smart phones.

The on going years of civil war which includes the death of over 5 million people , wide spread rape, human rights abuse amongst other evils in Congo is rooted in the desire for control of the mine fields and human slaves and money. The money raised by rebels selling these minerals to multinationals is used to fund this unending civil war and purchase weapons.

Below is a video for your enlightenment on this situation.

Conflict Minerals 101

You may say, this is a really bad and sad situation but that's not my problem.  I'll share this excerpt with you from an article by a photo journalist Michael Brown...

"In Congo, the effects of the mineral trade on every person’s life—even the lives of people who aren’t working at the mines—are palpable. At a Heal Africa clinic in Goma, I met an emaciated teenage girl who had been gang-raped by three Hutu militiamen allegedly funded by profits from the mines. I’m not advocating giving up our gadgets. The causes of problems in Congo are far more complex. There are industry sponsored programs like Solutions for Hope, which tries to monitor coltan. But auditing the origins of these minerals is complicated by inaccessibility and danger. I’d like people to pause when they look at these photographs, taking time to think about where the material for modern technology comes from—and what lives are affected before they get into the phones in our hands."
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