“Is your gadget addiction supporting rape in the Congo?”

Parham often points out the objects in our classroom that might have come from the Congo. I found this article on Jezebel (Is your Gadget Addiction Supporting Rape in the Congo?) about how global thirst for these minerals often fuels sexual violence in the Congo. It made me think of Alphabetical Africas, how Alva (and all the women, really) were often portrayed having sex, “spreading their legs” and just generally as sexual objects. In the book, I though that  the writer was somehow linking women and Africa–saying, that Africa was getting used or fucked by all these foreigners. This article has made me think about how the workings of neo-colonialism are so interwoven with using women as sexual objects and also about how we rarely make the connection into how the mineral trade affects women’s lives.

(Excerpt)

“Sexual violence in Congo is often fueled by militias and armies warring over “conflict minerals,” the ores that produce tin, tungsten, and tantalum-the “3 Ts”-as well as gold. Armed groups from Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda finance themselves through the illicit conflict mineral trade and fight over control of mines and taxation points inside Congo.

But the story does not end there. Internal and international business interests move these conflict minerals from Central Africa around the world to countries in East Asia, where they are processed into valuable metals, and then onward into a wide range of electronics products. Consumers in the United States, Europe, and Asia are the ultimate end-users of these conflict minerals, as we inadvertently fuel the war through our purchases of these electronics products. This trail has been well documented by the United Nations and others.”

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