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Black Friday: Ringing in the Holiday Season from Congo

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Black Friday: Ringing in the Holiday Season from Congo

Posted by Laura Heaton on November 26, 2010

This post originally appeared on's homepage.

Looking for a memorable message for family and friends when it’s your turn to share over Thanksgiving weekend? How’s this?

"This Black Friday I am remembering the connection between my electronics and the conflict in eastern Congo."

By chance, this year Thanksgiving falls on International Day to End Violence Against Women. Since the holiday also marks the beginning of the biggest shopping season of the year, the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign is working to raise awareness in the US about the links between electronics purchases and the conflict in eastern Congo, the world's deadliest war which is characterized by widespread sexual violence and the use of rape as a weapon of war.

While people are out shopping for the best deals on new computers, MP3 players and cameras, the campaign is asking people to be responsible consumers and help spread the word about the conflict in Congo – not by boycotting products but by using their electronics to tweet and join a Facebook awareness campaign to build the conflict-free consumer movement.

As has documented, momentum behind the conflict-free movement is growing. Student groups on more than 30 university campuses have kicked off campaigns to persuade their trustees, administrators, and fellow students to strive for a conflict-free campus. The anti-corporate Yes Men posed as Apple, unveiling a website supposedly advertising the world’s first ever conflict free iPhone. They followed up with a faux Apple press release.

Just last week, more than 2,300 concerned consumers signed a petition calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to ensure that the rules it is devising for the conflict minerals provision in the Wall Street Reform Bill are tough enough so as to force companies to trace their supply chains for conflict minerals.

The link between conflict minerals and atrocities in Congo is gaining a foothold in American popular discourse, but activists and concerned consumers should work to deepen the level of engagement.

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