Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Divine Intervention: Black Mental Health & Coltan

Thursday was wild. I’ve signed up to a Tutoring agency and yesterday was my first session with a student but I’m sick with a cold. I spent the entire day in bed and the session was booked for 5pm. I didn’t want to cancel, so I booked an Uber to take me to the student’s house. There was surge pricing (bastards), but I had no choice, so already I’m out of pocket.

The driver’s a brother. Cool. We start chatting. I tell him I’m on my way to work and I’m a tutor but my main thing is actually I’m a student in Mental Health and Psychology. He asks what I want to do with that, and my reply is that I want to be a therapist, because I have a special interest in Cultural Psychology and Racism.

His interest is piqued.

Uber Driver: “Racism?” 

Me: “Yeah.” 

He explains that he’s been doing his own research in to racism. We began to talk about how the English and Americans like to meddle in international affairs, mess around in their conflict and then paint an ugly picture it to the rest of the world, and he asked me if I would call that racism. I said 100% yes sir. 

He asks where I’m originally from (St. Lucia), and then he responds with his life story. Now if you know me in real life, usually I don’t appreciate a life story (I have a short attention span LOL). But this is phenomenal.

This guy’s name is Jean-Louis and he’s from the Democratic Republic of Congo where the mineral Coltan is mined – the mineral which is used in mobile phones and laptops. Coltan is traded in conflict in surrounding countries such as Rwanda.

According to this article by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Blood on Your Handset (2013), money from minerals sold, is being funded back into the violence of the war and kept from the people. There is a strong image that Africans are prone to guerilla-type tactics, when it comes to warfare and this has nothing to do with any International influence whatsoever. You can also seem to find evidence of this in William G. Thom’s article on the Congo-Zaire Civil War conflict. This is untrue, unfair and racism.

Who is funding this violence?

 

Who is supplying the arms?

 

Who is whispering into the ears of the enemies?

And all of this stems back to colonialism and slavery…

People were also forced to flee their countries and cross the borders into the surrounding countries for refuge, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, causing conflict – Jean-Louis told me that the number of people probably the population of St Lucia have been murdered in his country and I believe him. This is ALL BECAUSE OF INTERFERENCE BY THE WEST.

I’ve often wondered what the psychological impact has had upon these people, after what they have lived through, seen and done. I was in Secondary school during one of the wars in Rwanda and Sierra Leone in the late nineties, where refugees fled to the UK and I went to school and Church with some of these people and of course their accounts were very different to what was shared in the media. I often wonder how they deal with their PTSD in adulthood in the UK, which is something Jean-Louis and I discussed, because they would be angry about their past traumas, but have nowhere to express that anger, so instead of therapy which would provide a safe space to express their pain, they would be incarcerated or sectioned. This is racism. This then also has a cyclical psychological and mental health impact upon generations of Black children, which is not being dealt with.

Jean-Louis assures me that the land is not poor; the Democratic Republic of Congo is surrounded by rainforest and therefore, is fertile and self-sufficient. This links back to the lie from the “Blood on Your Handset” article, that the people from the Democratic Republic of Congo are using violence to populate money to fund for food, when in actual fact, they are living on fertile land already and are being forced against their will to work for tax purposes and to sell coltan to the West. That is racism.

After all of this meddling, what is left?

Broken Black people. That is what is left.

And the next time you hear somebody telling you that racism is over, get over it, show them this piece please and tell them to fuck off.

 

Author:

I’m Cece Alexandra and I have Epilepsy. Since being diagnosed, my life has changed significantly. After studying and teaching Humanities and Literature for all of my adult life, I was bullied and lost my job a month before qualifying to become an English Teacher. Once you fail the Teacher Training course in England, you cannot ever retrain; I then became too sick to work because of my Epilepsy. I am now currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Psychology with the University of Liverpool. My disability provokes me into raising awareness for invisible disabilities, which I also actively partake in with Epilepsy Action. Part of that awareness is to help fight against invisible disability discrimination - I believe that this behaviour is not cognitively unconscious; modern society is actively partaking in a hierarchy of disabilities and I believe that there is not enough psychological research to prove this. I am also clinically interested in Cultural Psychology - particularly Collectivist Culture, and wish to pursue this further in my academic career.

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