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Blood Diamonds

by Karen Stever

I'm sitting here looking at my mom's diamond engagement ring. She told me before she died that it was one of those moonlit nights along the side of a pond that my dad proposed. My dad was a farmer and travelling musician so he was dirt poor...I'm looking at this ring thinking he must have stolen it! As an item of artistic value alone, it's great. But the diamond inside is particularly beautiful, extraordinarliy clear and you can stare at it for a very long time.

I pulled it out again after watching 'Blood Diamond' with Leo DiCaprio and the very stellar actor, Djimon Hounsou. It focuses on a civil war in Africa in 1999. The diamonds being sold (that slave labor pulls from the water) are used to finance further terrorism. It's not too often I am caught up in a film where I am sitting on the edge of my seat.

It was the first time that I had a new perspective on refugees in Africa. Basically, we hear that people are run out of their homes and forced into refugee camps and we see babies with big tummies and flies around their heads. We feel just sick about it...like they said in the film, "...we might even write a check" but I think a level of numbness has set in overall and unless another rock ensemble put together by Quincy Jones fires up an awesome hooky song, we'll continue to just feel bad.

Now it's important you understand that I am not all fired up for a cause here. It's not that I have a problem with anyone having compassion and doing something about it or donating etc. I feel each person on earth is equipped to handle a certain level of assistance and each heart is driven to give individually. But I did appreciate the greater message in this film because I am really about getting to the root of a problem and what else I can do outside of direct financial help. They stressed the point of supply and demand. If a rich man in the U.K. or United States wants to buy a diamond ring for his wife, someone had to work like mad to get it. In this movie, slaves were stolen from their homes, watched their wives and children get shot and were starved and beaten regularly to find the diamonds to sell. This is not unusual in many other circumstances. There are people all over the world making our clothes, cars, toys... you name it...for either pennies or they are slaves. It's the same theory that poachers would not hunt endangered species if someone didn't want that fur coat.

But these things drive the economy unfortunately, so who am I to say stop being a consumer, right?

I guess what I am hoping to get from all of you are some really basic palatable facts of things we are doing in our households that could be adjusted so we aren't supporting horrible things like this. Like the film suggests, there are options to buy "conflict-free diamonds". It's one thing to have a species go instinct, but the bigger picture in that poaching is that villagers are driven into the deserts in most cases where consumerism rules. I'm personally not a jewellery person only because I don't really dig the gawdiness of being decorated like a Christmas tree... but films like this just give me another reason why I don't bother. I would rather get a piece of recording equipment anyday than a diamond. (hmm, I better do some research on the brand names of compressors and see which companies support slave labor.) I was one of those people repulsed by Madonna's 'Material Girl' video.

Is there something you can share with the community here that you have stopped doing in your life and household that the rest of us aren't aware of? As cynical as I can be about these things helping a larger picture, I am not digging the fact that there are over 200,000 children in Africa forced to carry weapons and assist in wiping out villages. Maybe there are some things in our own country we aren't aware of like Proctor and Gamble testing on animals. I switched toothpaste... was easy to do...my teeth feel clean...didn't upset my world at all.

Source: http://blog. myspace. com/index. cfm?fuseaction=blog. view&friendID=49588707&blogID=418284733

Diamonds are definately not this girl's best friend, Karen

"He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator." By Francis Bacon

Reply from Lorraine to Karen's article......

I read with interest your recent posting on the Blood Diamond film, yep I totally agree with you, it is a disgrace how these people are treated to make the rich man fatter it repulses me to think some rich guy can go out and buy a diamond ring costing thousands of pounds and not think of the circumstances behind it. This is why I only sell vintage jewellery and not precious stones, I only buy rhinestones, glass, faux it is all man made and keeps the economy going on safe grounding, no fights on value, in fact a lot of vintage is so artistic and made with love for that alone it is worth buying to admire their craftsmanship and never thinking some poor soul died unlike these blood diamond jewels.

It is not worth it, like you say it is man at its worse thinking and being blinded into greed and self gratification. Vintage jewellery is used again and again to show the world you do not need to spend thousands of pounds on real stuff, it is all about art and workmanship that goes into each piece and not necessarily for wearing. All jewellery pieces are works of art it has nothing to do with value like these mindless people who are portraying and causing death to produce it.

Your article shows strongly the meaning of Blood Diamonds and would put those nasty people to shame who produce such evil stuff.

Good on you for pointing out this important issue going on today amongst many other terrible crimes around the world.

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