Money From Stone: Congo’s Troubled Tin Mines

Catholic Relief Services

By Lane Hartill

A man holds up tin ore that was dug at Bisiyé, one of Congo's most contested mines. At Bisiyé, some miners stay underground for 2 to 3 weeks at a time.

Jules had been hiking all day, slipping his way down the trail to Ndjingala. He pushed leaves as big as dinner plates out of his eyes and shifted the 115 pounds of rocks in the mesh sack on his head. For long stretches of time, all Jules heard was the soft panting of the group of 15 men and the sucking sound of the mud underfoot.

These rocks—heavy with tin ore, known as cassiterite here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo—were going to feed Jules’ family for a week. But only if he made it to the end of the trail. He’d get a buck a mile: $25 for 25 miles. He was in the home stretch now, only a mile to go. Please, he thought, let the trail be clear. Please, no more roadblocks. Or bandits. Continue reading Money From Stone: Congo’s Troubled Tin Mines

South Africa President Under Pressure

Africa Confidential

The would-be usurpers plotting against President Jacob Zuma should not underestimate their target’s determination

President Jacob Zuma is hitting the media hard with a charm offensive before the governing party’s critical National General Council meeting on 19 September. His plan is to appeal to African National Congress supporters – the majority of South Africans – over the heads of the delegates, many of whom complain that Zuma’s leadership falls short of their hopes when they elected him at the Polokwane conference in 2007. The precedent that the ANC delegates established at Polokwane – of ousting Thabo Mbeki – a sitting president – might now be used against Zuma.   Certainly, Zuma has fallen out with many in the coalition of trades unionists, communists and youth leaguers who voted for him in 2007 but he is a canny and determined operator: he will be not be pushed out without a fight. Continue reading South Africa President Under Pressure

Statement Denouncing Anti-Muslim Bigotry

U S Conference of Catholic Bishops

Interfaith leaders met September 7 in Washington D.C. to denounce categorically derision, misinformation and outright bigotry being directed against America’s Muslim community.  As chairmen of the Committees on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Domestic Justice and Human Development, and International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, we voice our solidarity with these leaders.  All acts of intolerance aimed at a religious community should find no place in our world, let alone in our nation which is founded on the principle of religious freedom. Continue reading Statement Denouncing Anti-Muslim Bigotry