Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Blood Diamonds

After reading the ‘Blood Diamond: Tracing The Deadly Path Of The World’s Most Precious Stones’ by Greg Campbell, I was thoroughly ashamed of coming from a continent where leaders could be so brutal even to their own people for no other reason but greed and the quest to control resources and wantonly amass wealth.

Africans leaders with due respect to only handful of them are corrupt shameless lunatics and could be extremely schizophrenic, insane, out of their mind and completely mad when it comes to leadership tussle and the looting of the natural resources that should have been used for the development and advancement of their nation and uplifting of their own people. The war for diamond in Sierra Leone proves me 100% right and bears an everlasting testimony to this statement.

Africa is over blessed with abundant human and natural resources but these resources have turned out to be a curse on the continent. The war in Sierra Leone summarises how natural resources could be a curse on a continent or a nation. First discovered in 1930, the diamonds of Sierra Leone have turned out to be the source of the worst war, cruelty and brutality in African history as well as a good example of how a natural resources could erupt the wickedness of man’s heart and his inhumanity to his fellow men. The Sierra Leonean diamond funded the most notorious, brutal, animalistic and cynical rebel groups ever to have been known in the history of mankind and warfare.

Diamonds that come from conflict areas like those from Sierra Leone aptly called ‘blood diamonds’ accounts for about five per cent of global output. This may not sound as a huge amount but bearing in mind that even this small quantity has resulted in an estimated 3.7 million deaths and displaced more than 6 million Africans, it becomes worrisome.

Greg Campbell’s book set in Sierra Leone is an in-depth study of the history of diamond mining and the part it plays in fuelling civil wars in Africa especially in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo and in particular the one that ravaged Sierra Leone for over a decade. In telling the story Campbell traced the ugly and bloody part played by the militia and rebel groups in Sierra Leone especially its carnage and campaign of terror against their own people. The players including the local Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, The Revolutionary United Front and the Sierra Leone Army as well as the external ECOWAS Monitoring Group, Executive Outcomes, Liberians United For Reconciliation and Democracy and the then Liberian President, Charles Taylor all played a nasty role in the campaign of intimidations, killings, raping, amputations as well as the use of Child Soldiers in the conflict.

Shamefully those in position to stop this type of carnage actually encouraged it out of greed by buying these diamonds and smuggling them out of Sierra Leone which eventually appears as legitimate polished diamonds in the streets of London, Antwerp and New York and subsequently on the fingers of the newly engaged and married who are oblivious that the diamond they are wearing comes through a very brutal and bloody source. Campbell in particular pointed accusing fingers on the Lebanese merchants who would to go to any length to acquire the blood diamonds for its pecuniary gains. He opined that the war of diamond in Sierra Leone just like those of Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo was not an ideological or principled one but a war that is hinged upon corruption and greedy quest to amass and control wealth by all means which sadly at the end of the day was not actually used for their own benefit but for that of the western world. A stupid war amongst brotherly idiots!

The brutality of the war in Sierra Leone is perhaps an eye opener to the west on the role they directly or indirectly play to fuel events that leads to disaster in Africa. It is also an indictment of the weakness of the African Union in managing and handling conflicts in her own backyard. The Union played little or no role in resolving the conflict while the local ECOMOG drafted in to restore order was allegedly busy competing with the rebel groups in their campaign of terrors, intimidations, raping and amputations.

The war in Sierra Leone is also a clarion call to the west never to take any conflict in Africa as something unserious or another tribal war, a mistake the Clinton administration made leading to the over spiralling of events in the Sierra Leonean war and the huge amount of deaths and causalities recorded. The impact would ultimately be felt by millions, thousands of miles away from the scene of the conflict. For instance, Campbell in the book was able to successfully link the relationship between the blood diamonds in Sierra Leone and the September 11 attacks in the United States as well as other nefarious activities of Al-Qaeda. This is a link that is not within the grasp and understanding of the western world but Campbell went into great detail to discuss the link.

I therefore wholeheartedly recommend the ‘Blood Diamond: Tracing The Deadly Path Of The World’s Most Precious Stones’ by Greg Campbell to all avid readers seeking to enrich their knowledge of how things work in Africa and the role the way things work in Africa played in fuelling the conflict in Sierra Leone.

Cover Photograph Courtesy Of Basic Books.

1 comment:

  1. Good Job . Take time to embellish your prose (your delivery of the facts and figures)

    Elegant delivery will make perceptive readers (I mean perceptive readers ) willingly suspend their disbelief.

    You have pontentials that are distinctive !!