Student action needed to end conflict minerals

By Elizabeth Krupka
November 15, 2010

Would you still buy your cell phones, TVs and laptops knowing the blood, war and rape behind the parts that make up your technology? Every vibration, every sound, every light on your phone comes from a mineral that was mined in places with soil rich in minerals. Many times, these are conflict minerals.

Conflict minerals are minerals in your cell phones and computers that have been mined under war-like circumstances.

Elizabeth Krupka / A&E Editor

How does a mineral become so important that a country will do anything to profit from these commodities? The wealth is controlled by a small number of warlords and mineral traffickers.  The warlords control the mines, forcing the miners to work for free and then sell the minerals. This is a continuous cycle.

Rape has become the main weapon to enforce power. The warlords and soldiers have instituted regulations that soldiers need to pillage villages and rape women. If the people in the village resist, the warlords continue to rape the women. In the face of this intimidation, the villagers agree to mine for little or no compensation to save the women from being brutally raped.

The FDRC are the militia in the Congo. These are the soldiers who work under the warlords and enforce the war rape.

Before the Rwandan genocide, the FDRC soldiers populated the country of Rwanda. However, once the displacement because of the genocide occurred, the soldiers moved and began controlling the mines.

Why does this matter? It could escalate and become  a battle of territories, involving surrounding nations in Africa, creating another war, which the already unstable countries of Africa do not need.

The instability of an African country can lead to extremism and terrorism which, as we know all too well, is not in the best interest of the U.S.

Consumers can raise their voices, asking their representatives to fund the Dodd-Frank bill and not just support it with words. This bill has companies leave a paper trail of where their materials are coming from.

The Loquitur wants you to make your voice heard and let President Obama and our representatives know our thoughts. If our senators feel the heat from the consumers then the government will document where the minerals are coming from. However, the push needs to be from the consumers.

Help the Congolese miners who are crying out for help. Their problems cannot continue to go unnoticed.

In the next few minutes when you pick up your cell phone, remember the bloodshed behind your pocket-sized piece of technology. Help to break the cycle.

For more in-depth information about the topic see the story on page 1.

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Elizabeth Krupka

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