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Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives

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Before reading this book, I had no idea what cobalt was used for or how it was mined. I wish I knew a way to help. But I can certainly encourage everyone to read this book. I will never again be able to use my ipad or smartphone without thinking of this book. Such then was the main task: to convince the world that thgis Congo horror was not only and unquestionably a fact; but that it was not accidental or temporary, or capable of internal cure … To demonstrate that it was at once a survival and a revival of the slave-mind at work, of the slave-trade in being.

Cobalt Red - Macmillan Cobalt Red - Macmillan

To understand these realities, we must first lay a bit of groundwork in this chapter on the Congo and the cobalt mining supply chain. Our journey will then begin in an old colonial mining town called Lubumbashi. From there, a single road traverses the mining provinces deeper into the heart of cobalt territory. As we follow this road, the conditions of cobalt mining will be revealed with each passing mile through the firsthand accounts of the children, women, and men who dig for cobalt, as well as my own reporting on the mineral traders, government officials, multinational corporations, and other stakeholders that profit from their work. Nearing the center of cobalt mining in Kolwezi, we will encounter testimonies of a darker truth, one that cannot be fathomed. I saw it for myself on September 21, 2019, at a place called Kamilombe. I will take you there, just as I took the journey, down the only road that leads to the truth. I thought that the ground in the Congo took its vermillion hue from the copper in the dirt, but now I cannot help but wonder whether the earth here is red because of all the blood that has spilled upon it.” I’m struggling with the author’s final thoughts: “Lasting change is best achieved when the voices of those who are exploited are able to speak for themselves and are heard when they do so.” I do agree with his plea for accountability, rather than “zero-tolerance policies and hollow PR” focusing on human rights violations. One of his solutions may seem unattainable - “treat the artisanal miners as equal employees to the people who work at corporate headquarters.”Siddharth Kara’s] well-written, forcefully argued report exposes the widespread, debilitating human ramifications of our device-driven global society. A horrifying yet necessary picture of exploitation and poverty in the Congo.”— Kirkus, STARRED review

He Needed a Big Megaphone, So He Wrote a Best Seller

The severity of harm being caused by cobalt mining is sadly not a new experience for the people of the Congo. Centuries of European slave trading beginning in the early 1500s caused irreparable injury to the native population, culminating in colonization by King Leopold II, who set the table for the exploitation that continues to this day. The descriptions of Leopold’s regime remain disturbingly applicable to the modern Congo. The New York Times review about the book asks, “How Is Your Phone Powered? Problematically.” Siddharth Kara’s “Cobalt Red” takes a deep dive into the horrors of mining the valuable mineral — and the many who benefit from others’ suffering.With extraordinary tenacity and compassion, Siddharth Kara evokes one of the most dramatic divides between wealth and poverty in the world today. His reporting on how the dangerous, ill-paid labor of Congo children provides a mineral essential to our cellphones will break your heart. I hope policy-makers on every continent will read this book.”— Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost Never in human history has there been so much suffering that generated so much profit that directly touched the lives of more people around the world.”

Cobalt Red, How the Another Dirty Side of ‘Clean’ Energy, “Cobalt Red, How the

This nonfiction book will make you stop and think about the impact our lives have on others around the world. The book explores the impact of cobalt mining on the people of Democratic Republic of the Congo. Cobalt is used in the rechargeable devices we all use. An unflinching investigation reveals the human rights abuses behind the Congo’s cobalt mining operation—and the moral implications that affect us all.”

In between history the author does interviews with the local artisanal miners who make up the vast work force in the mines. Many of them are entire families, all having to work to have enough just to put a meal on the table. One of the biggest themes over and over again through the interviews is many just have no choice. There is one interview done with a young man named Makano, who after the death of his father had one option to keep his family fed, go into the mines. It is there at only sixteen he falls and gravely injures himself. It is a common story, teen boys pulled from school to work in the mines for a variety of reasons. In this tour-de-force exposé, Kara...uncovers the abuse and suffering powering the digital revolution...Throughout, Kara's empathetic profiles and dogged reporting on the murkiness of the cobalt supply chain are buttressed by incisive history lessons on the 19th-century plunder of the Congo...Readers will be outraged and empowered to call for change." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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