Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Morton Bast

  • I want to talk to you today

  • about a difficult topic that is close to me,

  • and closer than you might realize to you.

  • I came to the UK 21 years ago, as an asylum-seeker.

  • I was 21.

  • I was forced to leave the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

  • my home, where I was a student activist.

  • I would love my children to be able to meet my family in the Congo.

  • But I want to tell you what the Congo has got to do with you.

  • But first of all, I want you to do me a favor.

  • Can you all please reach into your pockets and take out your mobile phone?

  • Feel that familiar weight ...

  • how naturally your finger slides towards the buttons.

  • (Laughter)

  • Can you imagine your world without it?

  • It connects us to our loved ones,

  • our family, friends and colleagues,

  • at home and overseas.

  • It is a symbol of an interconnected world.

  • But what you hold in your hand leaves a bloody trail,

  • and it all boils down to a mineral:

  • tantalum, mined in the Congo as coltan.

  • It is an anticorrosive heat conductor.

  • It stores energy in our mobile phones, PlayStations and laptops.

  • It is used in aerospace and medical equipment as an alloy.

  • It is so powerful that we only need tiny amounts.

  • It would be great if the story ended there.

  • Unfortunately, what you hold in your hand

  • has not only enabled incredible technological development

  • and industrial expansion,

  • but it has also contributed to unimaginable human suffering.

  • Since 1996,

  • over five million people have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Countless women, men and children have been raped, tortured or enslaved.

  • Rape is used as a weapon of war,

  • instilling fear and depopulating whole areas.

  • The quest for extracting this mineral

  • has not only aided, but it has fueled

  • the ongoing war in the Congo.

  • But don't throw away your phones yet.

  • Thirty thousand children are enlisted

  • and are made to fight in armed groups.

  • The Congo consistently scores dreadfully

  • in global health and poverty rankings.

  • But remarkably,

  • the UN Environmental Programme has estimated the wealth of the country

  • to be over 24 trillion dollars.

  • The state-regulated mining industry has collapsed,

  • and control over mines has splintered.

  • Coltan is easily controlled by armed groups.

  • One well-known illicit trade route is that across the border to Rwanda,

  • where Congolese tantalum is disguised as Rwandan.

  • But don't throw away your phones yet,

  • because the incredible irony

  • is that the technology that has placed such unsustainable,

  • devastating demands on the Congo

  • is the same technology that has brought this situation to our attention.

  • We only know so much about the situation in the Congo and in the mines

  • because of the kind of communication the mobile phone allows.

  • As with the Arab Spring,

  • during the recent elections in the Congo,

  • voters were able to send text messages of local polling stations

  • to the headquarters in the capital, Kinshasa.

  • And in the wake of the result,

  • the diaspora has joined with the Carter Center,

  • the Catholic Church and other observers,

  • to draw attention to the undemocratic result.

  • The mobile phone has given people around the world

  • an important tool towards gaining their political freedom.

  • It has truly revolutionized the way we communicate on the planet.

  • It has allowed momentous political change to take place.

  • So, we are faced with a paradox.

  • The mobile phone is an instrument of freedom

  • and an instrument of oppression.

  • TED has always celebrated what technology can do for us,

  • technology in its finished form.

  • It is time to be asking questions about technology.

  • Where does it come from?

  • Who makes it?

  • And for what?

  • Here, I am speaking directly to you,

  • the TED community,

  • and to all those who might be watching on a screen,

  • on your phone, across the world,

  • in the Congo.

  • All the technology is in place for us to communicate,

  • and all the technology is in place to communicate this.

  • At the moment,

  • there is no clear fair-trade solution.

  • But there has been a huge amount of progress.

  • The US has recently passed legislation

  • to target bribery and misconduct in the Congo.

  • Recent UK legislation could be used in the same way.

  • In February, Nokia unveiled its new policy on sourcing minerals in the Congo,

  • and there is a petition to Apple to make a conflict-free iPhone.

  • There are campaigns spreading across university campuses

  • to make their colleges conflict-free.

  • But we're not there yet.

  • We need to continue mounting pressure on phone companies

  • to change their sourcing processes.

  • When I first came to the UK, 21 years ago,

  • I was homesick.

  • I missed my family and the friends I left behind.

  • Communication was extremely difficult.

  • Sending and receiving letters took months --

  • if you were lucky.

  • Often, they never arrived.

  • Even if I could have afforded the phone bills home,

  • like most people in the Congo,

  • my parents did not own a phone line.

  • Today, my two sons --

  • David and Daniel,

  • can talk to my parents and get to know them.

  • Why should we allow

  • such a wonderful, brilliant and necessary product

  • to be the cause of unnecessary suffering

  • for human beings?

  • We demand fair-trade food and fair-trade clothes.

  • It is time to demand fair-trade phones.

  • This is an idea worth spreading.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Morton Bast

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US TED congo fair trade trade technology mobile phone

【TED】Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone (Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone)

  • 64 9
    Zenn posted on 2017/12/31
Video vocabulary