Diamonds, will it ever be your best friend?

Diamond is a word that originated from the Greek word “Adamas”, which means “the unconquerable”. It is a cubical crystal structure that shines in every direction and the moment you see it, it captures almost everyone’s heart. May be that’s the reason for a diamond to be known as a symbol of love, commitment and joyful new beginning. But have you ever thought who and how those diamonds shine?!? Of course we would not be so naive, just to imagine that beautiful piece of diamond to be popping out of the grounds in perfect shape, cut and shine. There are thousands of children and adults who are facing the severe consequences to make the diamond worth its beauty.

Diamond had not always been so popular and precious stone as it is now, in today’s world. The first history of diamond started 3,000 years back in India. At that time it was just used for decorative and superstitious purpose. Then in the Dark Age it took a different form, it was then used as a medical aid, believing that it contain power to cure illness. It was then the Middle age, who discovered the worth of this very shinning stone (http://www.costellos.com.au/diamonds/index2.html).The greed in human took a new form; the precious stone which was known for its mystical powers were now the causes of, all forms of brutality and conflicts that is still happening around the diamond producing countries. And Africa is one of the largest diamond producing continent, the people especially the mineworkers are suffering a great deal of torture and are baffled between the conflicts for diamonds.

“It’s more like a cure than a blessing for people in rich diamond countries” (http://www.brilliantearth.com/confict-diamond-trade/)

Such terrorizing moments gave birth to a new name for the precious stone, it’s called ‘Conflict Diamonds’ also known as ‘Blood Diamonds’. As the name speaks for itself, Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those the governments or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council” (http://www.brilliantearth.com/confict-diamond-trade/).

The role of diamond is very powerful and we can definitely say that, Diamonds are conflicts/wars best friend. There are many ways how diamonds have helped conflicts to generate; the words would have no limit to describe it. So these are some important and few of the ways how diamonds have created conflicts all over the world, but mainly in Africa.

1.       Civil War for Diamonds

  • There was blood bath everywhere, different rebel groups were fighting amongst each other as well as with the government and military forces to take over or to control the diamond rich territory.
  • Most of the African countries suffered a great deal of prolonged civil war (http://www.brilliantearth.com/confict-diamond-trade/) like,

Sierra Leon

–          A fierce and a brutal fighting took place between the Sierra Leon government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF)

–          RUF supported their whole revolution by selling those Blood Diamonds

–          They became well known for their child soldiers.

   

Angola

–          The civil war in Angola lasted more than two decades.

–          The war was between the Popular Movement for liberation of Angola (MPLA) who used oil of the coast of Angola to arm their soldiers

–          In response to that, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) took over 60-70% of Angola diamond mines. (https://townipproject.wikispaces.com/Blood+Diamonds)

“It has been said that war is the price of peace… Angola and Sierra Leone have already paid too much. Let them live a better life.”- Ambassador Juan Larrain

2.       Diamonds were funding the illegal and unlawful operations of rebel military and terrorist groups.

  • They were selling the conflict diamonds in high prices and raising money to carry out their illegal operations.
  • Some were selling; some were buying where they made a lot of profit which helped the terrorist acts and plans to be successful.
  • One of the most known and horrifying terrorist act which shook America and turned so many people’s live upside down, no other than 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda was also funded by Conflict Diamonds.

3.      Selling or exchanging of diamonds in return to get arms and weapons for the conflict/war.

  • Many of the rebel groups, terrorist and the government sell the conflict diamonds in order to buy arms and weapons.
  • Some may not even sell those diamonds. They make the process short by just exchanging diamonds with weapons.
  • For example, in case of UNITA the weapon dealers would come to them to trade diamonds for weapons. There were no flow of cash just flow of weapons.

4.       Human rights abuses and millions of deaths

  • Not only the rebellious groups but also the government was equally participating and practicing beating, killing, rape and child labour as well as child soldiers in the diamond producing countries.
  • Children being of small size were asked to go to more dangerous mining areas that the adults would not fit in through. Many lost their hands, arms and legs in accidents during mining, while many of theirs were cut off by the mine-owners to torture and bring fear within the works leaving them disabled for the rest of their lives.
  • Millions of people have been killed; the deaths from diamonds fuelled civil war are greater than the US military deaths.

It’s frightening to see how a beautiful stone like diamond has such a dark story of its birth. Would anyone have thought the shinning piece of rock lay out and sold expensively in the jewellery stores were the reason behind all of these terrorizing acts mentioned above. To make our relationships and bonds tight with our loved ones we gift them diamonds, but what have those diamonds gifted the miners back?? Just misery and separation from their loved ones and families, in most the cases the separations are forever (deaths).

 “The fellow who gives diamond ring to a lover should know that probably because of that diamond a girl of 10 has been raped, a boy of two has lost a limb”. – Dr. Dennis Bright

As of today knowing all the past and present condition about diamonds, I could never imagine myself to be indulged with diamonds, even after the fact that it is one of the most popular stones to symbolize emotional commitments (marriage rings) and the amount of love. I am a girl, but I can proudly say, Diamonds can never be my best friend! So before wearing those diamonds ask yourself, are those diamonds worth presenting only your outer beauty? What about your inner beauty, beauty towards humanity?

“Diamonds are forever” it is often said. But lives are not.
We must spare people the ordeal of war, mutilations and death for the sake of conflict diamonds.”-
Martin Chungong Ayafor

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