Written by Gregg Brekke
The Global Ministries "Cell Out" cell phone usage boycott is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 12pm - 6pm, to raise awareness of the Congolese conflict over the natural resource coltan. The mineral, used in many electronic devices, is a catalyst for the war that has ravaged the Congo since 1996.
Global Ministries has been a key supporter of the Church of the Disciples of Christ of the Congo (EDCC) in the Republic of Congo.
Sandra Gourdet, Executive for the Africa Office of EDCC reports, "Global Ministries has been present in the region for over a century and is currently active in several provinces. We have witnessed that in spite of the violence, the ministries of the church move forward as signs of hope and humanity in the midst of despair and brutality."
The office for Advocacy and Education of Global Ministries is spearheading the boycott in collaboration with their African partners. This effort by individuals in churches will call attention to and bring support for the people of the Congo who are caught in the middle of the struggle.
Why boycott cell phone usage?
* Nearly 6 million people have died in the Congo since 1996 due to the scramble for Congo's spectacular natural resources.
* Coltan is a key source of the conflict in the Congo. It is a mineral widely used in numerous electronic devices, such as cell phones and game consoles (Microsoft X-Box and Sony Play Station), and is mined illegally in the Congo by rebel militia and foreign forces to be sold to multinational corporations.
* The boycott will bring awareness to the war in the Congo in which 45,000 people die each month. Global Ministries invites organizations on college campuses and in communities to support their endeavor by spreading knowledge about the atrocities taking place in the Congo.
What do I do during the boycott?
* Turn your phone off from 12 noon to 6pm on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008. No calls in or out, no texting, no email…
* Participate in any "Break the Silence" event in your area!
* Change your voicemail to reflect the following message:
"Did you know that Congo has 80 percent of the world's reserve of Coltan, a natural resource that is central to the operation of our cell phones? As we benefit from coltan over 5 million Congolese have died in the deadliest conflict since world war two as a result of the scramble for coltan and other minerals key to the functioning of modern technology. Join us in solidarity with the Congolese people and turn your phone off for a day"
What can I do to help?
* Raise awareness and mobilize support on behalf of the people of the Congo
* Visit www.globlaministries.org and www.friendsofcongo.org for more action items
* Visit www.youtube.com and search "Issues in the Congo"
For more information please contact:
Program Associate, Advocacy and Education
Mission Education and Interpretation
PO Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206