The Sexist

Does Your Ipod Support Rape in the Congo?

Today, the Center for American Progress' "Enough Project" will stage a feminist protest of the grand opening of D.C.'s first Apple store. Feminist concern with the company goes far beyond juvenile iPad jokes: According to a press release, "conflict minerals in electronics fuel mass atrocities in eastern Congo, including rape as a weapon of war." Demonstrators, who will gather between 4 and 6 p.m. at the 1229 Wisconsin Ave. store, will "demand that Apple guarantee conflict-free iPods, iPads, iPhones, and Macs." One demonstrator will appear "in apple costume." Presser after the jump.

‘Bad Apple’ and Human Rights Activists To Demonstrate This Afternoon at Grand Opening of the First Apple Store in the District of Columbia

VISUALS: Demonstrator in apple costume, plus dozens of human rights activists educate Apple employees and customers on how conflict minerals in electronics fuel mass atrocities in eastern Congo, including rape as a weapon of war.

WHO: Lisa Shannon, activist and author of A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman, and Enough Project supporters

WHAT: Demonstration to hold Apple accountable and urging Apple consumers to demand that Apple guarantee conflict-free iPods, iPads, iPhones, and Macs.

WHEN: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Eastern

WHERE: Public space and sidewalk outside new Apple store on 1229 Wisconsin Ave., (Wisconsin and M Street), Georgetown.

WHY: The conflict in eastern Congo is fueled by a multi-million dollar trade in minerals essential to our electronic products. More than five million people have died as a result, and hundreds of thousands of women have been raped over the past decade in what experts term “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”. The armed groups perpetuating the violence generate an estimated $183 million each year by trading in four main minerals — tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold. These minerals are used in virtually every electronics product on the market today – from our cell phones and digital cameras to our laptops and fax machines–including Apple products. For more information about the conflict in eastern Congo and the connection to our electronics, visit

WHY APPLE: We love Apple products. But some tech producers such as Intel and HP have engaged in dialogue on the issue and are proactively pursing audits of their own supply chains. Apple has consistently remained on the sidelines and allowed industry associations of which they are part of to speak for them instead of taking the responsibility and initiative to take the necessary steps to verifiably remove conflict minerals from their supply chain.  Recently, a PR representative of Apple claimed they “are conflict free”, because they “ask their suppliers to provide a certificate.” While this sounds noble, no credible certification system exists. The presence of conflict minerals in tech products worldwide is not in dispute. Because of this denial and break from the rest of the tech industry, combined with a long history of silence on the issue, Apple is unfortunately regarded as among the worst major tech suppliers on the issue of conflict minerals.

Photo via zAppledot, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

  • Richard

    I really love the Enough Project, CAP, and think that the Congo is probably the most ignored country in the world.

    That being said, I think while the actual campaign to bring attention to the issue is good, the policy behind it does not make very much sense to me. Why would further devastating the economy by boycotting one of its chief exports cause the conflict to stop? While the mineral industry does provide some of the economic foundation to the Congolese conflict, it also provides a wide swath of jobs to the Congolese people who may then just be recruited into any number of militias.

    I am genuinely confused by their position on this and wonder what I am missing?

  • Sarah

    With alot of conflict minerals, the trade doesn't actually provide jobs in the country of origin. Raw materials are extracted often using forced/coerced/child labor and then shipped off for processing in an industrialized country. Even when the laborers are adults who are being paid something, they are being paid a pittance for something that is actually very valuable. The people in the country of origin really see no economic benefit from the neocolonial raw materials trade.

  • K

    You could not be more wrong Richard! Kyrgyzstan is sitting on two golds and a silver in contrast to Congo's bronze in the "Most Ignored Shithole in the World" Olympics.

  • Sarah

    "Shithole" is probably not the best way to refer to countries facing a legacy of oppression and ongoing conflict.

  • Rick Mangus

    'K', I think you summed it up right "Shithole" that the US dump millions into for what!

  • thurman

    Has anyone been to these crountry to know how these peoples live.I have been to those countrys and seen what it like to eat one day. A little money is better than not eating at all.stop crying like a little school girl and get off your fat a*%es and help out for crying out loud