The war in the Congo is one of Africa’s longest running conflicts, yet the 150 year-old struggle is usually one of the least covered parts of the world.
Sadly, when Congo is in the news we often hear narratives of merciless mass rapes used as weapons of war. However, there is a new story line being attached to the conflict in the Congo and it affects every one of us whether we know it or not.
Conflict minerals have become one of the most contentious topics in foreign policy discussion and are now becoming a major talking point for activists and skeptics alike.
Recently, actor Ryan Gosling travelled to the Congo with John Prendergast, Co-founder of the Enough Project. Appalled by the fighting and violence caused by the struggle for conflict diamonds, the two came together to make this film, “Raise Hope for the Congo.”
In a recent piece on The Huffington Post, Prendergast calls for consumers to demand the companies who make their electronic goods not use conflict minerals to make their products. He writes:
“The bottom line here is this: if you demand conflict-free products, they will supply them, just like with the blood diamonds campaign that ended that deadly trade and helped stop three wars in West Africa.”
While demanding companies uphold ethical sourcing standards is certainly in order, some say the elevation of the conflict minerals narrative is not necessarily the most pressing one that the people of the Congo face.
Today, in The Christian Science Monitor, Lauren Seay, a political science professor at Morehouse writes:
If Enough is as concerned about the unintended consequences of their advocacy efforts as they should be, it seems to me that they would want to explain why they chose this particular path, as well as discuss their efforts to mitigate suffering for people who are becoming unemployed because of the legislation’s consequences…It’s long past time that all the players in the Congo discussion sat down at one table to talk about the core assumptions of the the conflict, the advocacy movement, and what the Congo needs.
What do you think Clutchettes? Are conflict minerals the new blood diamonds or just a new talking point? Share your thoughts!