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Sexual Violence in Congo and My Cell Phone

A Nokia 6280 mobile phone (A1-edition), an UMT...

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I’m looking at my cell phone right now in an entirely new light. I want to chuck it. This is how I felt last month as I listened on my IPOD to Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory. Sigh.

Maybe you were already aware of this, but I certainly wasn’t. It’s dreadfully devastating how unaware and unconcerned we can be about the products we use, and where they come from. (Out of sight, out of mind…?) On a recent “celeb cause” blog section posting  on How Our Cell Phones Link Us to Congo’s Sexual Violence Epidemic

The war in Congo “technically” ended in 2003, and many of the foreign fighters have left, but Congolese remain in a conflict zone of epidemic proportion.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called the Congo the “world capital of rape, torture and mutilation” where some 5.4 million people have died as a result of violence in the past 5 years alone — this despite a “peace agreement” reached in 2002.

As consumers, we’re apart of this conflict related to the fight over the minerals (including tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold) that have become essential components in electronics such as cell phones, laptops, cameras, iPods.

Being informed is our best and sometimes only resource, and it’s important to seek out and use that gained knowledge.

Collective efforts are making an impact and the conflict-free movement in the United States is expanding. Using our power as consumers and voters we can tell our preferred companies and government our concerns/issues and motivate them to implement  certification systems. (We have power. Without our money buying their products they are nothing. And don’t you forget it!!)

As companies begin tracing the source of the minerals, consumers can choose who to give business to, based on their human rights record in Congo, and in turn the public influence increases.

We get to start making decisions that make a difference by cutting off demand for these minerals.

Click here to learn how to make responsible shopping choices, and how you can Raise Hope For Congo.

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About maggie.

Maggie Barnes is a nonprofit and for profit business content specialist / social media consultant; and social sciences web writer interested in everything from psychology and sexuality, to technology, race, and economics. She is passionate about good communication and information accessibility.

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