In the vast of Africa beneath, a silent trade unfolds that has gone unnoticed by many. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is known for being the second largest country in Africa, with nations rich in resources. But with a crisis that transcends the depths of humanity. Yet the world remains oblivious to the silent genocide that is hurting the lives of Congolese people.
Congolese people have been enslaved, murdered, and oppressed by Belgium to take their resources. Almost 10 million have died under Belgium’s rule. Even until 1960, when Congo gained their independence, western corporations continued to step in and create instability to the point they extracted the raw minerals and wealth. Belgium and the US were complicit in the murder of Congo’s anti-colonial independence leader and first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, in 1961, after Mobutu Sese Seko became dictator.
Congolese civilians have been massacred by Rwandan-back M23 rebels, who have a long history in the Western and corporate intervention in the DRC. Western corporations profit from mining in Coltan, Cobalt, Gold, and Diamonds. In the West, the UK, the US, and France have been providing military funds to the Rwandan and Ugandan militias in Congo. Since 1996, over 6 million people have been actively displaced in Congo due to Western-backed armed violence and corruption. DRC is the fourth largest group of displaced people in the world. The West can continue benefiting from Congo’s resources and access them cheaply.
The Democratic of the Congo has the natural resources that have been the biggest target. They have 64% Coltan, short for columbite-tantalite, a dull metallic ore used for mobile phones or electronic devices. Today, it has lied to the issue of coltan mining, intertwined with violence and corruption. Armed groups and militias have seized control over dozens of mining sites. This ruthless pursuit of power and profit has resulted in the destruction of livelihoods and the loss of innocent lives. The absence of consistent oversight and accountability has allowed the economy to flourish, enabling the illegal trade of Coltan to thrive. Cobalt mining contributes to deforestation, with over 140,000 acres of forest lost annually in DRC. As Cobalt toxic dumping is devastating landscapes, polluting water, and contaminating crops, hundreds of thousands of poor Congolese people living surrounding the mining town are all affected, especially young mothers with babies. All are working in subhuman, grinding, and degrading conditions, with Congolese women and children continuously being raped, tortured, starved, displaced, and killed. Humanitarian crisis is the most intricate and enduring issue. They all deserve to have food, clean water, and shelter.
As the world watches the horror happening in Palestine, we must acknowledge that there have been other genocides happening in other parts of the world. Over Congo’s decades of violence, we all need to call for action to prevent further loss of civilians. It is crucial to stop all of this Cobalt mining. Let’s all share, advocate for change, and end the cycle of violence.