Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

For Shame: The Congo Nightmare Continues


Eve Ensler, playwright, activist and creator of V-Day, appeared at the the seventh D: All Things Digital conference in late May to talk about the links between what goes into making mobile phones and human rights violations.

There, Ensler (pictured above) shed much needed light on the dire situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where some of the worst atrocities are now being committed on the population in a terrible civil war.

She predicted it would get worse without massive international intervention.

Tragically, she was right.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that rapes of women were escalating dramatically–if that is even possible considering past devastation–in the Congo.

Reported the Post:

“An already staggering epidemic of rape has become markedly worse since the January deployment of tens of thousands of poorly trained, poorly paid Congolese soldiers, with people in front-line villages such as this one saying the soldiers are not so much hunting rebels as hunting women.”

It follows another recent report by the New York Times about the rise of rapes of men too.

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the Congo, where she unveiled a $17 million plan to battle sexual violence in the country.

She said the situation was “evil in its basest form”

Ensler’s aim is to end the use of rape as a weapon of war there, which is, in part, a consequence of the region’s coltan trade. Coltan, or columbite tantalite, is a mineral essential to the manufacture of a wide array of consumer electronics, such as mobile phones and laptops.

Clinton mentioned these “conflict minerals” during her visit.

To learn more about a shameful situation that needs immediate attention, I urge you to watch the video interview from D7 with me, which you can see in its entirety below.

And then visit the V-Day site on the dire situation in the Congo to learn what you can do to help.

Here is the Ensler interview:

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Seriously, though, surreptitiously spying on what users do is actually the underpinning of the entire web advertising industry.

— Anil Dash, via Twitter