We love our cell phones and the selection between different models has never been greater. But the production of phones has a dark and bloody side.
The majority of minerals used to produce cell phones come from the mines in the Eastern DR Congo. By purchasing these so-called "conflict minerals" The Western World is financing a civil war that, according to human rights organizations, has been the bloodiest since World War II. During the last 15 years the conflict has taken the lives of more than 5 million people and 300,000 women have been raped. The war will continue as long as armed groups can finance their warfare by selling minerals.
If you ask phone companies about the source of their minerals, none of them can guarantee that they aren't buying conflict minerals from the Congo.
The documentary Blood in the Mobile shows the connection between our phones and the civil war in the Congo. Director Frank Poulsen travels to DR Congo to see the illegal mine industry with his own eyes. He gets access to Congo's largest tin-mine, which is being controlled by different armed groups, and where children work for days in narrow mine tunnels to dig out the minerals that end up in our phones.
After visiting the mine Poulsen attempts to talk with Nokia, the world's largest phone company. Poulsen wants them to guarantee that they are not buying conflict minerals, but his efforts are futile. Nokia cannot give him this guarantee.
Blood in the Mobile is a film about our responsibility -- corporate and consumer alike -- for the bloody conflict in the Congo.
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Spotlight is a Link TV weekly presentation of investigative reports from around the world. Commentary is provided by host Lakshmi Chaudhry, who has been a reporter and editor for independent publications, including Mother Jones, Wired News and AlterNet, for over six years. She is currently a senior editor at In These Times.