~ Blood Diamonds and the effect it has on those involved and how it has effected the American way of life. ~
Illicit diamonds create legendary profits for terrorists and corporations alike. The trade illustrates with the energetic brilliance of the gem itself that no matter where human rights violations advance to pass, the kinsmen of this planet are blind to them at their peril.
In April 2001, A 15 year old lieutenant in Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary (RUF), was captured in a war in one of the far-off corners of the planet. He was amongst thousands of victims of a war fighting for control of one of the most revered gems: Raw diamonds that made their way from the deadly jungles of Sierra Leone onto the fingers and necks of lovers all over the world.
Deadly merchants, feeding on the diamond train, bankrolled accessible armies and made fortunes for transnational corporations. The revenue stuffed the pockets of Al Qaeda, and almost certainly Hezbollah terrorist organizations infamous for committing human rights violations, including crimes against humankind.
The lieutenant sprawled to the dirt from shrapnel of hard hot metal in his body from head to groin, destroying his left eye. The few who could fight didn’t stand a chance against the merchants of Sierra Leone. And fewer still could find the Mimic’s Beak, a minuscule piece of turf that lays between the neighboring Liberia and Guinea, straight in the line of fire between rising war hungry factions in those countries. The confusing and powerfully reckless crossfire made the Parrot’s Beak one of the deadliest 50-mile plots of land on the Earth in 2001. Anyone unlucky enough to be shredded by exploding grenades knew they were miles and miles away from anyone that could possibly save their life.
The RUF youthful military man did not agonize by himself. In the Parrot’s Beak mid July/2001, 60,000 plus from Sierra Leone, all of Liberia, and Guinea were, as if to the beat of drum, dying from disease/ailments, war wounds and starvation. No one would help them.
The lieutenant was carried to a poor, fly infested room in Kailahun, the RUF’s sub standard idea of a hospital, in the Mimic’s Beak. He was dumped on a heap of hay that served as a bed. All for the greed of diamonds. Powerless to medicate him, the RUF field medics had simply taped his wounds tight and left him with his pain.
In 1991 the RUF began it’s govern of diamonds. By using the support of neighboring Liberia they took control of Sierra Leone’s gigantic plethora of diamond mines. Since then, the rebels carried out one of the most savage army campaigns in history, to enrich themselves and their captains. Their main strategy was amputation of civilians. Everywhere you looked there were intentionally cut of body parts. Upon the 10 year season war, the rebels have mutilated 20,000. Hacking off their arms, legs, and ears with machetes and axes. This act was the RUF’s way of responding to Sierra Leone’s “Cry for peace”. In another month 85,000 more were killed. The RUF’s goal was simple, to kill and conquer the residents and enjoy an incontestable reign of all diamond fields.
The RUF enjoyed their terrorizing and looting of the countryside, thousands upon thousands of prisoner-laborers, worked to starvation, and dehydration, were forced to dig up the gems from deathly unsafe-diamond mines. Most ended up in 2 foot graves, executed for suspicion of theft, lack of working, and sport.
What was happening around the world was remarkable. Europe, The West, and other countries were buying the diamonds from the RUF. Not caring, whatsoever, how the diamonds were obtained, and the suffering the diamonds were symbolizing to the slaves of the diamond train. European regions were buying as much as 125 million a year. What this was accomplishing was the funding of the RUF to buy more arms, train more combatants, and create more armies. The world was assisting the up and coming terrorists with complete ignorance.
The Blood Diamond effect on those around the world and the U.S.
The West dismissed Sierra Leone’s war as little more than a disturbing waste of time that had little impact on their own monetary interests, and even less on the security of the United States. Then on September 11, 2001, the world was witness to the result of that ignorant thinking.
About three months before the 9/11 attack, Al Qaeda was laundering millions of dollars by buying untraceable diamonds from the RUF. Once 9/11 happened the U.S. started freezing 100’s of millions of dollars in Al Qaeda assets. But few possessions in this world can be bought and sold and be as untraceable as diamonds!
Even before 9/11, the diamond sellers, merchants and buyers were getting skittish. Human rights groups and the media began exposing the wars of Africa. They knew what could happen. Warning that diamonds, the very thing we put in our engagement rings, the once strongest symbol of love would become the symbol of mutilated arms and legs.
Before 9/11 in 2000 a group called Universal Witness was created. It basically consisted of Diamond industry reps and officials of diamond exporting and importing, and non-public San Francisco organizations. Unfortunately they were never able to come to any sort of viable solution to the problems afflicting Africa. Soon after the 9/11 tragedy the Kimberly System was born, and finally an agreed set of regulations were put into effect. The Kimberly Process insists that all exporters and importers of diamonds must specify and establish documents of where the diamonds they have came from. The documents would be inspected for forgery. The process is now known as the Clean Diamond Act and passed by an almost unanimous vote in the house and senate.
It is now law that if, by request, any individual buying a diamond from any seller has the lawful right to know exactly where that diamond came from. Hoping people would choose on their own to buy from diamond miners that deal solely in “life”, and not those that deal in “blood”. To this day the “blood diamond” wars are still in effect, and as long as there is wealth to be made from these gems it may never end.
References – Amnestyusa .org