Child slave cobalt miner of Democratic Republic of Congo
The Cobalt Slave Miners of The Democratic Republic of Congo vs Apple, Volkswagen And General Motors

The year was 1885 and King Leopold II of Belgium laid claim to Congo Free State, referring to it as a “magnificent African Cake”. Leopold II plundered Congo Free State for his personal enrichment, at that time the country’s wealth constituted of rubber, ivory and gold. The people of Congo Free State were never free, during the 74 year illegal occupation an estimated 8 million people were massacred by Belgian forces under the direct command of Leopold II.

Today, what was once known as the Congo Free State has evolved into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), a transformation that occurred following its placement under civil administration in 1909. However, the current state of affairs paints a starkly contrasting picture. Despite its name, the Democratic Republic of Congo has struggled to realize genuine democracy or uphold the ideals of civility.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is still being plundered for its vast natural mineral and rare earth resources. Western mining companies, backed by neo-colonialist governments install a conveyor belt of puppet regimes to facilitate the unchecked extraction of the nation’s riches, leaving minimal room for oversight or accountability. The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo persist in enduring a destiny that, while distinct from that of their forebears, remains equally distressing, if not even more so.

Cobalt stands out as a rare earth mineral abundant within the Democratic Republic of Congo. Much like maggots drawn to decaying flesh, industry giants such as Apple, Volkswagen, and General Motors are similarly drawn to the country’s cobalt mines. Cobalt is an essential ingredient to fuel not only electric cars but also the technological lifelines of our generation: smartphones. Amidst the façade of environmentally-conscious corporate, image-building, the likes of Volkswagen, General Motors and Sterile Corporate Monolith Stellantis tout their electric vehicles as symbols of progress.

Yet, veiled beneath this veneer is a troubling reality. These same companies neglect to divulge the grim circumstances faced by impoverished child miners, toiling for mere pennies each day, who inadvertently aid these very companies in their hypocritical battle against climate change.

DW Documentary sheds light on the concealed toll endured by the oppressed and destitute population of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who extract cobalt under harrowing conditions. This mineral then fuels the ability of Western individuals to flaunt online the apparent success of transitioning to electric vehicles. Regrettably, our lives in the Western world often shield us from these harsh realities, leaving us insulated, ignorant and unaware.

Child slave cobalt miner of Democratic Republic of Congo
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