In the process of finishing Andrea Böhm’s “Gott und die Krokodile“, and it is obvious that not only is the exploitation of the Congo’s mineral wealth today at least as comprehensive as it was at the time of Leopold II of Belguim, but also that millions of native Congolese are still dying because of the country’s mineral wealth.
Of course, this s not exactly something that I didn’t know before reading Ms Böhm’s book, but if there was any inkling of doubt beforehand, I can now most certainly not plead any ignorance when it comes to the true cost of an iPhone.
80% of the world’s colton reserves are located in the DRC and coltan is used to make laptops, camera lenses, fiber optics, ink jet printers, etc. and. crucially. it is indispensable to cellular phones. Moreover, as indicated at the beginning of this post the manner in which this particular raw material is being exploited is responsible for a trail of grief which is similar in scale to the one which those who went in search of ivory and then rubber left behind them.
That is why the fact that plugging my iPhone into the digital television and watching the news on ‘Democracy Now’, rather than subjecting myself to the daily drivel served up by the BBC, ZDF, Al Jazerra, and other mainstream news stations, should perhaps not leave me too enthusiastic. Nevertheless, I still cannot help think, what a nice little treat and, after Amy Goodman, I got up out of my seat and changed the channel to watch RT and another other side of the story.
However, another side of that other side of the story is, of course, ….. well, love the stuff on economics and the debates, but ….. you don’t exactly get a lot of criticisms of President Putin and after months of almost unconditionally supporting the government in Syria, it is in ‘The Guardian’ that I discovered The Russian prime minister Dimitry Medvedev, has apparently stated that Bashar al-Assad’s chances of staying in power in Syria are minimal.
Now,do I stop using a mobile phone and a laptop and do I return to the crap churned out by the BBC and others? I will do neither and I will continue to use the iPhone to watch RT and ‘Democracy Now’, even if I know that the one thing RT is not going to do, is criticise is the very undemocratic government in Moscow and even if I know that people are dying in the very undemocratic Democratic Republic of the Congo partly because of the manner in which colton is being exploited.