By: Daniel Otero
“T.I.A., This is Africa!—from the movie ‘Blood Diamond’ (2006)”
Colonization ended across Southeast Asia and especially Africa by the 1950s and 60s. Civil wars did ensue throughout the Dark Continent when millions of Africans of different ethnic diversities who were forced to live together—broke their relationships once their European masters left.
A Continent always rich in wealth was left behind by European empires like: Britain, France, Belgium and Portugal. However, powerful nations did depart from Africa and they did not leave the Continent completely alone.
Because there is one unquestionable reason, this place offered something attractive to most colonialist. Even before the days of the Victorian Era and Doctor Livingstone. Africa as it did then and now, continues to offer the natural resources to make men rich. Talk about the “Garden of Eden”, well this is certainly one! Most of all, through centuries, men have come here lusting for power.
What attracts people to Africa, other than touring and enjoying the safaris? It comes down to two principal reasons, black gold (oil) and the most important of all, diamonds! Countries with past problems in Blood Diamonds are: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo (one of the worse places for rapes and lowest life expectancy of 35 in the world) and Angola.
Then, tragically after the European colonization ended, Africans in their respective countries began going to war. In many such cases, tribal conflicts ensued! And with warfare, people needed weapons to fight. Who would supply the arms needed? Well, the following nations: Europeans, Russians and Americans. Weapons like the AK-47 (Russian made by the way) became the assault-rifle of choice. These rifles came into the hands of local warlords in exchange for diamonds.
Does Joseph Kony ring a bell? Mister Kony has been warlord, rapist, mutilator and mass murderer responsible for countless deaths in Uganda for the past 30 years. A man who also enslaves the local-southern population; those he controls through warfare and intimidation.
Or men like Charles Taylor, warlord and a man accused by The Hague for war crimes he committed in Liberia. Yes, the same Mister Taylor whom gave supermodel Naomi Campbell a pair of diamonds in the rough!
Ms. Campbell’s crime has been to be too ignorantly-stupid on the issues and realities back in Africa; although, she is British of African ancestry herself. But what can be said of the average supermodel, simply brainless and without education to understand the social realities of the world. People like her are more than common back in the U.K. and U.S. Lacking in social awareness is a thread with people whom accept diamonds as gifts or those who purchase them. Whether purchased in North America or Europe.
Chinese now find themselves in the same dilemma. They want their diamonds! And while China comes into economic wealth, is ignorance an excuse? Many Chinese citizens do not know this reality—that China has been investing in countries like, Zambia and Zimbabwe since 1976. More and more Chinese business entrepreneurs continuously invest in nations like, Nigeria and Ethiopia. And yes, the above have fully invested into the African economy and with the Europeans and Americans are also to blame in receiving diamonds for services rendered, etc.
The problem with accepting illegal diamonds is the cause and fuel for the wars across Africa.
So, what can a man do when “diamonds are a girl’s best friend (Marilyn Monroe, 1953)”? Or, “a diamond is forever (Mary Frances Gerety, 1948)”. When purchasing a diamond, always ask in business for the certificate and point of origin. The jeweler should be able to produce [if he’s not ‘shady’] a document or proof stating the mine of origin where it came from. This is the correct and legal way when buying a fancy stone.
One system used [that’s nearly perfect] to prove where the diamond originates is in South Africa. The De Beers Corporation has one of the best tracking systems for its diamonds in the world.
And yes, illegal diamonds are cheaper to purchase; however, the consumer will continue to fuel an economy that sponsors the following: terrorism, war, rapes, mutilations, slavery and genocides. Do we want to be part of this legacy? I sure hope not!