Whistleblowers for Peace: Falling Whistles
It has been three years since I stepped foot into the Falling Whistles headquarters in Los Angeles. Natural light illuminates the exposed brick, installations, and five staff members clicking away silently at their computers. Gone are the days (and nights) of intern-filled garage spaces in Venice Beach. In its place is a more focused and experienced organization working to bring peace in Congo. The approach is an interesting one — selling whistles and using the proceeds to support work in Congo, delivering educational media content, and mobilizing their base to push for policy changes.
To date, the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed over 6 million lives– as many people who died in the Holocaust. This fact feels very far away to me until I remember that my cell phone and computer have minerals such as coltan from Congo that were likely extracted by slave labor and that the money from the illegal sale of such minerals fund the war. Organizations like Falling Whistles are working to figure out how to create legal and accountable supply chains. They are partnering with people in Congo to fund rehabilitation efforts for those directly affected by the war. They have chosen the whistle as a symbol of protest to say that it is important to name oppression and exploitation wherever and whenever it happens and to tell the stories of struggle, change, and liberation.
Being a whistleblower for peace means choosing to hear the stories of suffering and freedom–our own and those of others– and to create change. The Falling Whistles video below is from 2011, right before a Congolese election. It is an example of how technology has created new possibilities for thought, interaction, and direct action.