History of Blood Diamonds

        This year a very controversial and eye-opening movie, Edward Zwick’s 2006 Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Danny Archer, came out about the collection of diamonds in Africa. The diamonds are mined in war zones and used to fund their conflicts. The definition of a blood diamond is a diamond mined in a war zone and sold, usually clandestinely, in order to finance an insurgent or invading army's war efforts. I was oblivious to all the issues surrounding diamonds until watching the movie.

        The main problem comes from the Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone as sources of blood diamonds. On July 19, 2000, the World Diamond Council adopted a resolution to increase the diamond industry's ability to block sales of conflict diamonds. In 2002, the UN approved the so-called "Kimberley Process," aimed at preventing blood diamonds from entering the market. The Ivory Coast was recently found to be supplying blood diamonds and was banned from diamond export under this process. I now think twice when I see diamonds in store windows or if anyone gives me diamonds as a present. I would not want to support a business where it costs someone his or her life just for a diamond. It seems as though our country is taking action and trying to regulate how and by whom the diamonds are mined.

        The diamond industry website Home-DiamondFacts.org states that, by the U.N. definition, 99% of diamonds are not blood diamonds. However, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported in September 2006 that blood diamonds are still entering the United States. The question is how do we know what are blood diamonds and what diamonds were properly and safely mined? Well as much regulation as possible should be enforced, but people always find ways to get around laws. We can just keep doing the right thing and hope that the rebels will not be able to make enough money to stay in the diamond business.

Jaclyn Ramage

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