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Diamonds: A girl's best friend?

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Diamonds: A girl's best friend?

by Laverne de Vries
07 Feb 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

After chaotic production deadlines on Monday, I normally look forward to Tuesdays as they are the only days which are fairly stress free. However, last Tuesday I was absolutely depressed and after bawling my eyes out, I came to a decision - if I should ever be crazy enough to wed one day, my fiance should never, ever buy me a ring with diamonds.

Rumoured to be a girl's best friend and meant to last forever, I don't want to own a diamond. Ever. Not after watching Leonardo Di Caprio's latest cinematic offering, Blood Diamond.

Set against the backdrop of a civil war in Sierra Leone in the turbulent 1990s, the movie tells intertwined tales of love, belonging, friendship and war.

While weaving through the relationships, the director takes the audience on a violent trip through the country's political landscape which sees rebel soldiers aiming to topple the government by launching attacks on citizens.

Citizens of rival tribes were tortured and forced to work in the country's vast mines, digging for diamonds, while many of the children lost their hands in violent amputations.

Rebel forces believed that they couldn't vote for opposition parties without their hands. Those with both hands were either forced to dig for diamonds or were brainwashed with drugs, into becoming child soldiers who massacred their own people.

During the turbulent times, diamonds were smuggled to neighbouring countries and sold to diamond magnates, at a miniscule cost to the magnates but at the invaluable cost of thousands of young local lives.

The movie succeeds in rousing the conscience, well in me at least. It reinforced my theory that the whole universe is interlinked and that we should always be aware of our actions, because every action has an equal but opposite reaction ? the diamond buried in a plate of gold or silver on your finger may have cost someone their life.

During an interview with a magazine, Di Caprio was quoted as saying that the movie doesn't aim to stop the sale of diamonds as they are a big source of income for Sierra Leone.

However, he hopes consumers will request that a statement citing the diamond they purchase is conflict-free.

Being the cynic that I am, I'll stay away from it completely because I have no assurance, other than the word of some jeweller, who I presume is out to make a quick buck.

My point? Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but they can have the unpleasant history of being the dreaded enemy of a child in Sierra Leone.

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