Thursday, July 01, 2010

Enough Project calls out Mac and Microsoft for funding genocide

The Enough Project recently released a parody video of the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ads that called out the companies for making their products with minerals from the Republic of Congo. The video shows the PC guy explaining how the tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (used to create smart phones and computers) in his pockets comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As he explains, "it came all the way from the Congo, where it's been fueling the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II." The Mac guy concludes with, "I guess we have some things in common after all."

Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about the same thing in his recent NY Times article "Death by Gadget." The war is the deadliest genocide in the world, having claimed 5.4 million deaths by April 2007. The Enough Project is leading the campaign to bring an end to the conflict by building a movement to prevent crimes against humanity.

According toe Kristof's article, companies are simply asking where their suppliers get their materials from without doing any follow up investigation to verify the claims. With over 1/5 of the world's supply of tantalum (used to make electrical capacitors in phones and computers) coming from Congo, companies are unknowingly providing the support for the conflict in Congo, which is often titled the "rape capital of the world."

Fortunately, it's easy to take a stand against this practice. If consumers simply refuse to buy products that are made from illicit minerals, manufacturers will have to change. Intel and Motorola are now performing audits to determine the origins of their tantalum, largely in response in the increasing public pressure. As Congo celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence, take a stand against the conflict that has affects millions of people.

-Matthew Thwaites

SOURCES: "Death by Gadget"- NY Times, "Ending the Conflict Minerals Trade in the Eastern Congo"-US State Department