Diamonds Aren't Everyone's Best
In the middle of dinner, Victor got down on one knee. Taking Claire's hand
in his, he spoke the words she had been dying to
hear, "Will you marry me?" Claire beamed
as Victor reached into his pocket, pulling out the velvet-covered jewelry box.
Nestled inside was a two-carat
diamond. As he placed the ring on her finger, the look of joy on her face turned
to horror as blood began to drip from the ring. This blood wasn't her own, but
the blood of the thousands of men and women who died as a result of the diamond
she was now wearing.
This example is an exaggerated illustration of the blood diamond trade. Blood diamonds are not red, nor
are they dripping with blood. These are precious stones that are mined in
countries that are considered war zones. The gems are then secretly sold, with
the proceeds funding the war efforts of terrorists or of less-than-honorable
Africa may be the cradle of
civilization, but in it sleep age-old feuds that have taken countless lives. The
majority of the world's diamonds come from Africa. Countries such as Angola,
Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast are known to produce some of the most
diamonds on earth. These places are also known for their bloody wars and conflicts.
In 1974, Portugal's rule of Angola came to
an end. Soon after independence, fighting among different
factions broke out. The civil war
lasted 27 years and took over half a million lives. Many of the bombs, bullets,
and grenades used to kill were purchased using funds from the sale of diamonds.
These diamonds found their way onto the fingers, wrists, and necks of the
wealthy around the world.
For years, the diamond trade was stained
with the blood of these sorts of operations. However, the public
as well as governments around the world eventually became informed about its
violent nature. Sanctions against the diamond industry in these countries made a difference and now most of
these conflicts have been resolved
and the trade is sparkling again.