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General News    H4'ed 7/26/10


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Do you have the new Smart Phone? Are you planning to get one? Did you know that the Smart Phone in your pocket might be contributing to the rape and murder of thousands of women and children in the depths of Africa? About 5 million people, mainly civilians, have died in off-and-on fighting in Congo since 1994, and armed groups on all sides have been accused of systematic mass rape.

So, what does that have to do with the Smart Phone? Some of the components used in this new "Smart Phone" are made from certain minerals found in the Congo, (as well as other places on Earth) and these minerals are funding the Rebel war. Many of the mines producing these minerals are owned by the rebel armies. Most of the workers are slaves from nearby villages, some forced to pay $10 per day to work in the mines. By purchasing phones that are made from minerals from these Congo mines, you are funding these rebel wars, thus being indirectly responsible for the rapes, murders, and mutilations.

However, it isn't just the Smart Phone. These minerals are in just about every piece of technology out there. Do you care? No? Well, keep reading.

Our society has been inundated with brainwashing commercials that insist we buy their products. It's another kind of war, one of profits. Well respected companies vie for your dollars, but don't tell you what goes into the making of their products, what the cost is in human lives. It all boils down to this: How many lives are you willing to forfeit in order to have that new computer, or cell phone, etc?

Watch the video > I'm a Mac ... and I've Got a Dirty Secret

Keeping up with technology comes at a price. Some pay with their lives. Many of the children being raped are so young (as young as four years) that the brutal raping kills them, or renders them unable to have children of their own. Many are killed or mutilated afterwards. Not all of the mines producing the necessary minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) are owned by these rebel groups. Some are legitimate. The African Government is hoping to set up a tracking system to help them determine , "with the greatest possible specificity" which mines the minerals are from.

"Companies can label their products as "conflict free" if they manage to prove that their products don't contain minerals that directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in any of the ten countries."

Intel Corp (taking responsibility, sort of)

Two years ago, Intel Corp. began alerting its tantalum smelters, those responsible for turning the ore into the metal, that they will have to start certifying that their ores don't come from "conflict mines." Spokesman Chuck Mulloy said that the process will add some minor costs to the supply chain "on the order of a penny per part". This is a small price to pay to save a life.

But, it wasn't until July of this year that our country did anything to help the situation by passing a law which required the transparency of the Congolese minerals, showing which mines they came from. The amendment says that, companies, trading in the Congolese mineral sector, need to disclose what steps they are taking to ensure their activity is not supporting the so-called "conflict minerals".

U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said, "All of these steps underscore the commitment of the United States to stand with the people of Congo and to work toward an end to this conflict," she said in her statement. However, this new law will do little or nothing to put an end to the killing. It's up to us, the buyers of the world. We have the power to stop it if we just put aside our own selfish desires.

The link below shows how these mines often exchange hands when an army takes it by force. What good does it do to certify the ore when it can easily be in the hands of a rebel army the next day? It would be better to avoid African ore all together than to risk funding rebel armies.

Congo conflict escalating as former rebels take control of mineral trade

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Recently I helped work on a book of fiction that has finally been published. It is called "The Census". It can be found on Amazon by doing a search for The Census by Dane Swank. The author, Dane Swank, has woven a story that revolves around (more...)
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