Cursed By Gold
December 4, 2010 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Georgina Cranston travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to photograph the women who work deep inside some of the country's disused gold mines.

After I watched the Guardian video, I did a quick search and found a somewhat recent 60 Minutes piece on gold mining in the DRC, if you're interested.
posted by gman (13 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
The situation in eastern Congo is, as Alston says, a human rights catastrophe. But it is much more than that. Congo, in general, is a profound civic disaster—a place where everyone wants a bribe and nothing works. Drive around the lava-blackened roads of Goma and the state of the failure, and the failure of the state, strikes you pungently. It is a town propped up by aid, where the rubbish mounts in the street, where every second car is a 4x4 belonging to a Western charity, where the only brightly coloured buildings are shops bearing mobile phone logos—a town where electricity fails, but where, if you know the right man, you can buy high-grade uranium on the street.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:55 PM on December 4, 2010


My main thought after seeing the video was to wonder why they don't use carts, at least once the loads are on surface. The loads they carry look painfully heavy; like TFA said, the work must be doing terrible damage to their health.
posted by chebucto at 6:53 PM on December 4, 2010


why they don't use carts

Wheeled vehicles need smooth surfaces or rails. The tracks they were walking over didn't look promising to me, and inside the mine looked worse.

In the voiceover, the photographer said that one woman remembered they used to have carts. My pick is that there isn't enough collective whatsit any more to maintain the infrastructure. Terrible.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:23 PM on December 4, 2010


You know how it's a thing here to leave a period when someone dies?

.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:29 PM on December 4, 2010


Damn, I hate poverty and economic injustice. I hate the obscene disparity between wealth and poverty in this world. It's very saddening.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:11 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


seeing this kind of back-breaking labor being spent for a few flakes of gold really says it all about humanity.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:23 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't usually interrogate texts from a feminist perspective or artsy things like that but it seems that in this case it's not really difficult at all - go on, just read the title of that first link again. And decide for yourself - does this mine have miners working there, or is it disused?
posted by Lebannen at 12:48 AM on December 5, 2010


Some of the other photoshoots on Georgina Cranston's website are well worth checking out as well
posted by adamvasco at 2:25 AM on December 5, 2010


Lebannen as the mines are not commercially worked; in this sense they are "disused". Men go in and break rock which the women transport. This is not a commercial corporate venture;
It's a struggle for individual survival.
posted by adamvasco at 2:29 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


In the voiceover...Does she really refer to these women as "artisinal" miners? That strikes me as a really odd term to use in this instance.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:17 AM on December 5, 2010


Artisanal in the sense that they are informal and not part of an official mining concession or company, is my guess. In the same way that independent, illegal silver miners in Peru are referred to as artisanal.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:33 AM on December 5, 2010


This is about Nigeria, but another story about the effects of artisanal gold processing. "...one village had lost a third of its children under 5 in a matter of weeks."
posted by sneebler at 2:55 PM on December 5, 2010


The current issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review (which is AWESOME) is all about mining - they carry it at Barnes and Noble or you can order it through their website. It's well worth the $14 cover price.
posted by youthenrage at 10:07 PM on December 5, 2010


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