Monday, February 14, 2005

Conflict and Blood - Diamonds

I blogged a while ago that I love Paul Simon. Right now I'm listening to one of his more famous tunes:

He’s a poor boy
Empty as a pocket
Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes

That's a snippet from a song he wrote after visiting South Africa. It's a bit about a happy little girl, and it's a bit about diamonds.

Diamonds are big business in Africa, so big that wars have been waged for them, people have died for them, and entire populations have been opressed for them. So much so, in fact, that some have even taken to calling diamonds from some African countries "Blood Diamonds" or "Conflict Diamonds."

For more information, you could check out Amnesty International or IDRC, and One Sky (a Canadian organization) has something to say, too.

Sometimes it's hard to draw the connections to these types of things.

One doesn't want to consider the fact that her diamond may come from Sierra Leone, and that rebel forces sold that diamond (or one like it) to purchase arms and train soldiers, and that those soldiers committed horrific acts to their people - indiscriminately.

But that's just what has happened.

The Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, in its efforts to control the diamond trade and therefore the economy, roamed the countryside looking for people to join them. If those people did not, the rebels simply hacked off an arm or a leg.

If you've reached this point of my little article, you could spare the time to look at these two pictures:

pic 1
pic 2


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