Friday, September 3, 2010

Blood Computers

I switched on the radio to CBC's "As It Happens" last Friday and caught the last few minutes of an interview with Chris McGreal about atrocities in Congo. I was just thinking I should ask my colleague, Tim Stabell, what he thought, when Craig Norris began reading an email Tim submitted to the talk-back line. I quote Tim's email here, as it appears on the Program Log:
I was once again horrified by the news out of Congo last night, a country where we lived for about fourteen years, and where we still have many close friends.
The news of the mass rapes that took place in North Kivu was dismaying, but is nothing new, except perhaps the scale of this particular incident. Tens of thousands of women and children, and even some men, have been traumatized and victimized by this 'tactic' of war. The international community has known about this for a long time.
The CBC, along with other media outlets, are challenging the efficacy of the U.N. mission to Congo.
There is certainly good reason for a full investigation of this case, but only if it leads to a heightened, rather than a lowered, commitment on the part of the international community to work toward both prevention of further such attacks in the short-term, and a long-term political resolution that addresses the roots of the problem. The latter is closely bound up with illegal mining activity for minerals used in the electronic devices we have all come to rely on so heavily. We are now emailing one another on 'blood computers' and talking to each other on 'blood cellphones'. Until this set of realities is addressed effectively, we will continue to hear stories of horrible violence destroying the lives of our Congolese sisters and brothers."
So we are implicated. What is there to be done? Tim recommends the following:

Enough! The project to end genocide and crimes against humanity
Raise Hope for Congo

You can listen to the entire CBC broadcast here. For more on "Blood Computers" see this July 2009 Time Magazine article: First Blood Diamonds, Now Blood Computers?

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