The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the third largest country (by area) in Africa. With a UN estimated population of 66,020,000, the DRC is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa.
The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, has many layers. Since the late 19th century, Congo’s vast natural resources have continually attracted violent intervention from abroad and stoked internal conflicts. Since 1996, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has played host to the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II. More than 5.4 million people have died from the ravaging effects of war and its aftermath.
The Congo Mineral Wars: 80% of the world’s coltan reserves are located in the DRC. Coltan (Columbite-Tantalite) is a metallic ore used to make capacitors, microchips and processors for electronics, including hearing aids, pacemakers, airbags, GPS, ignition systems and anti-lock braking systems, laptop computers, mobile phones, video game consoles, video cameras and digital cameras. It is also used to make aircraft engines and nuclear reactors. The rush demand for the precious metal in the DRC has caused the destruction of the world’s second largest stretch of tropical rainforest, child slavery, and even the wholesale slaughter of endangered species like eastern gorilla and chimpanzee.
“Kids in Congo are being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America can kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms,”
-Oona King, a member of British Parliament from 1997 to 2005.
Useful Links for learning about the Congo Conflict:
“Apocalypse Found” article by Casey Bush and Joshua Seeds, originally published in Portland’s environmental literature magazine The Bear Deluxe
Lisa Shannon speaks about Run For Congo Women – You Tube Video
Lisa Shannon interview on KGW - Video
The Real Mobile Phone Wars - You Tube Video
US Involvment in the Congo and Credit Crunch – You Tube Video
Congo’s Bloody Coltan – You Tube Video
Congo Connection – You Tube Video
Scandalous Press Conference – You Tube Video