Two films from the DRC
“There is a global consensus that exists that says it is OK for nearly six million black people to die in the heart of Africa and for us to be silent”
Blood in the Mobile is an exceptionally well produced documentary which traces the mobile phone [Nokia] to it’s source in the eastern DRC. The clip doesnt do the film justice. The film maker is painstaking in his pursuit to arrive at the Walikili mining camp – a place of violence and exploitation where the miners live in makeshift tents with no amenities, no regulation and are at the mercy of attacks by the ever changing militias and collapsing mines. The cassiterite is mined in deep holes by men and boys and is then transported by foot through dense wet forests for two days before reaching the nearest town. Here the mineral is loaded on to planes which land on the dirt tract that runs through the town. At each point in this perilous journey, the various operating militas collect “taxes”.
All attempts to illicit a response from Nokia which claims to be a “responsible corporation” proof fruitless. Everyday we read new reports on the innovative uses of mobile phones in Africa and elsewhere in the global south – the endless production and consumption of newer models of Nokia, Samsung and iPhones. Mining of cassiterite and other minerals may be just one of the many contributing factors to the war in the DRC but Walikili and other similar camps are central to it’s sustenance.
The second film, “Crisis in Congo” traces Congo’s history through coloniasation and focuses on the role played by the US, Britain and their allies, Uganda and Rwanda who act as proxy protection outfits, have played in the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. Protection of western economic, political and corporate interests, military support of Uganda and Rwanda in the invasion of the Congo and maintenance of successive dictatorships and perpetuation of tyranny against people. One example is a US law [109-456 – sponsored by senator Obama and signed into law in 2006] which “outlines a comprehensive strategy for the Congo to realise justice” but its no surprise that it is yet to be adequately implemented. The law states
that the US Secretary of State has the power to revoke aid to any nation deemed to be destabilising the Congo if she has sufficient evidence that a country is doing so. We have so much evidence on Rwanda and Uganda and we even have a leaked UN report that states all the Secretary of State has to do is read it and say OK now we are going to support. But since 2000 the US has given Rwanda $1 billion. The leaked UN report is calling this government a genocidal government. Why is the US government supporting a genocidal government?”
Congo concerns all of us.