Friday, July 25, 2008

How many kids in the Congo did I kill?

Console war reaches past the couch and into the Congo, claims report.

Has the video game industry dug up its very own blood diamond?

According to a report by activist site Toward Freedom, for the past decade the search for a rare metal necessary in the manufacturing of Sony's Playstation 2 game console has fueled a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the center of the conflict is the unrefined metallic ore, coltan. After processing, coltan turns into a powder called tantalum, which is used extensively in a wealth of western electronic devices including cell phones, computers and, of course, game consoles.

Allegedly, the demand for coltan prompted Rwandan military groups and western mining companies to plunder hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the rare metal, often by forcing prisoners-of-war and even children to work in the country's coltan mines.

"Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms," said Ex-British Parliament Member Oona King.

My guess is that I killed three kids. I went through 4 playstations 2, until I releazied that I could fix them myself. They weren't the most durable of electronics. The "disk reading error" was a killer, until it was found out that the internal tray just needed some lube.

Its a shame that so many Congo kids had to die for my entertainment. I am sure they would have like a PS2 for themselves. But, the whole lack of electricity probably would have been more of a bummer.

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