The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the world’s deadliest war since WWII. Over the last decade more than 6 million people have died and nearly 1,500 people continue to lose their lives daily. Sexual violence is rampant and thousands of children are involved in the war.
As the Falling Whistles site explains, the conflict is tied directly to the country’s vast natural resources. They are both a blessing and a curse, making Congo a country of great potential and a frequent victim of exploitation. Today, minerals found in Congo (often called ‘conflict minerals’) are used in consumer electronics including laptops and cell phones, yet very few of the people that mine these minerals benefit from the spoils of the mineral trade.
This can change if sacrifices are made by individuals, institutions, organizations, governments and corporations. Each of us profit from the exploitation of the Congolese people in our daily lives and through the products we use. If we hope to move towards a more secure twenty-first century, we will need to rebuild the lives of these men, women and children and change mineral trade practices in the Congo.
To achieve this Falling Whistles is asking everyone who has bought one of their whistles to pass it on to someone else as a gift today. Each whistle is made from what was a weapon of war – a bullet – that now serves as a whistler-blower for peace. I bought mine when I was walking down the street at night in Austin, Texas, and there was an event going on inside a clothing store. I saw the whistles hanging in the window and thought they looked cool (shallow, I know!) Then I met Sean, and learned about his organization and came to understand their significance. Tomorrow I will give mine away. And what can we all do to help the people of Congo on Human Rights Day?
1. Visit the store on their site and show your support for their work by buying a whistle. 100% of the proceeds are used to rehabilitate the lives of war-affected children in the Congo and to advocate their freedom.
2. Share their site with others across your social platforms and ask them to do the same with their friends. It’s a simple way to raise the volume of conversation around human rights in the Congo.
3. Spend your day mindful that the freedoms we take for granted that are not available to so many others.
Through such simple gestures like buying a whistle or discussing human rights with friends, we can help change the lives of those suffering in the Congo for the better.