Feb 15, 2011

The moral implications of modern communication - Cell phones and the lives they cost

This is why I won't buy any mobile phone that is not second hand (and even those reluctantly - the only mobile I ever possessed was my friend's old one which he did not need any longer).

"Blood in the Mobile"
(movie's hompage)

Be fast watching! (It will stay online at arte another day.) You can still watch short clips from the movie.
Languages: German or French

The war for minerals such as Coltan and Casserite in Central Africa (mostly the DR Congo) has cost an estimated 5 million (that is FIVE!! MILLION!!) deaths and at least 300,000 women raped since the mid-1990s (not including the approx. one million victims of 1994's genocide in Rwanda). These people have paid (and the living are continuing to pay) the price for the mobile industry's huge profits!
If this is not a new kind of economic colonialism (with the consent and active assistance of corrupt local elites - see the government official in the video at ca 5 minutes in), I don't know what is.

Documentaries are one very impressive way of showing in pictures what words can be insufficient to express.

Everything can be found online, so here is the German version on youtube (Part 1, the other parts are linked there):

Save your conscience trouble, buy consciously! Or, better even, do not buy cell phones at all!

Journeyman Pictures has broadcast on the working conditions in the East Congolesian mines before: http://www.journeyman.tv/18683/short-films/grand-theft-congo.html. Also look at a few other videos that are linked on the youtube post, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1FQmUQ1-mM&feature=fvw.
Casserite is sold for cheap prices on the international market and needed in the production of laptops and mobile phones. The working conditions and corrupted military make lives for local people unbearable, that is , besides the fact that it is completely hypocritical for us to look for the cheapest mobile phone deal possible while at the same time lamenting about how human rights are getting abused all over the place...

Concerning Africa, Journeyman Pictures has put out two recent documentaries of interest that have received praise. One is Africa - Kamenge: Northern Quarters - Where now for Burundi's troubled democracy? (59' min 05'' sec [9 February 2011]), the other Sudan - War Child: Emmanuel Jal (55/90 min [18 February 2010]). Emmanuel Jal has become kind of star since, so his story should be rather well-known. Trailer for the second movie:

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