Saturday, March 13, 2010

Congo and Conflict Minerals

Let me clarify that I have been aware of the wars in the Congo for a long time. But I think that if my ability to feel shocked and want to tear the hair from my skull were exhausted, it would mean that I'm either dead or cynical to the bone.

I'm neither of the above yet I am one of the millions of people who reap benefits of these wars: I do have appliances that contain minerals stolen from the Congo. And I do feel stupid, wrong, and at the same time cheated because of that.

And so what?

I think we're in a situation where none of this can carry any weight. It's hard to even make it sound genuine, since my outrage is only a drop in a sea of outrage and mere outrage can't do anything. And where does the exploitation stop if we're increasingly oblivious of the way our pretty toys are produced? It's "invisible hands" and "fairy material" and only if you really bother to ask yourself about the path each part of your laptop or cell phone has traveled will you--perhaps--realize that the trip began in one of those areas of the world that have rare natural resources: stuff necessary for your laptop to work, stuff necessary for your stupid cell phone to vibrate...

I hope some day (soon!) this will stop happening.

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