Published: June 2nd 2007June 2nd 2007
This is a story I wrote sometime ago... having myself visited the diamond areas of angola some years back; I viewed with scepticism the sudden interest in blood diamonds... and what exactly it really means to war in africa and diamonds as a product that women...covet...
In 1992 during a lull in the Angolan war, I put together a syndicate of seven adventurers from various backrounds and nations and set off with three four by fours to the north eastern part of angola which is known as the LUNDA province.. During our wild and crazy time there I learned a lot about the REAL facts of the diamond trade... and this is WHY i am responding to this latest documentary ( which by the way - never made it to the dvd versionof blood diamond with leornardio de caprio.. In fact I found the producers of the movie very opienated towards africa... ( The producer quoted a very quoted quote... ( a triple alliteration i know.. Mobutu may be a bastard ... but hes OUR bastard...!) my response to that is : a bastard is a bastard...
Blood &Diamonds-A look at the Kimberley Process
Corporate Conscience or a Marketing Ruse?
Yesterday I attended the preview of Blood and Stone , a short documentary FILM made for AOL Time Warner for their LATEST offering : “BLOOD DIAMOND” a new movie with Leonardio De Caprio.
According to the producers of the Documentary the movie was a risk having only grossed 65 million dollars in the last month in America.( It needs to turnover 200 million to break even…!)
However, could it be that in fact the whole issue of making this movie at this time is not a philanthropic effort by the big guys to stop conflict diamonds being sold on the marketplace…?!-
but in fact a simple exercise in marketing the Kimberley process to an unsuspecting public?
But what is the Kimberley process?
In simple terms it is a good AND ETHICAL initiative to stop blood diamonds coming to the market place… it is a guarantee when you buy a diamond that it hasn’t come from a place that is experiencing war… Amnesty International and the UN have endorsed it.
But what you haven’t been told is that Kimberley is actually the small town in South Africa that has the head office of the largest diamond company in the world… De Beers.
If any company understands blood diamonds well… it is De Beers.. A company started by the empire builder Cecil John Rhodes and later carried on by the dynastic Oppenheimer family.
In fact De Beers is a very large multi national company that has largely controlled the high prices of diamonds for the last 100 years … and still does!- most conflicts involving diamonds over the last century has at some point somewhere involved this one company… including the latest conflicts involving Zimbabwe and Congo, and, South Africa and Angola. Unita financed its war largely from the 20 million dollars paid monthly by DeBeers agents to Savimbi. De Beers also bought off the Russians for a billion dollars… - just to maintain the pricing structures!
De Beers is a South African success story as a company initiating other large corporates like SAB and Anglo American - both large octupusses with tentacles everywhere… During the time leading up to the signing of the “kimberley process” ; De Beers made huge profits out of conflict diamond running into billions- but corrupt governments were the only benefactors and a few middlemen… when the Russians, Israelis and others started entering the market new alliances and strategies had to be thought out to regulate the price structures of diamonds…; its quite simple really.. if you control the supply…, you control the demand… this has always been the philosophy of De Beers from its inception during the height of colonialism. In fact most diamonds on the market today including the crown jewels have blood stains on them… but its ok if you don’t see them…the point is will blood diamond and the Kimberley process and laws passed by the American government actually have any effect in bringing justice to this dirty business? I think not.
Diamonds are by no means a scarce commodity; in fact theres plenty of them all over the planet. They are an abundant commodity. They are not rare, this is a misconception of fact.
What this movie has done is to aid and abet De beers very cleverly once again to keep a tight control on market prices by saying… if you’re ethical…” Buy OUR DIAMONDS!...” The truth of the matter is that it is the miner ; the diamond miner who has been short changed and the families and children that have been done wrong to. The African people that have been raped and that have suffered as a result of this pretty stone. It is not the governments of Africa who should be held accountable… it is the ones that KNOW what is going on that should be brought to account. We should really boycott companies like De Beers and Rio Tinto if we want to see any changes in policies in Africa and the way business is done. In some countries this is already taking place and anyone can buy a legal license to mine legally.
In short, the last 100 years De Beers has done some pretty dirty stuff to keep control of this market and the only true way to change the status quo is to deregulate the diamond industry completely and give ALL Africans the FREE right to mine the soil for diamonds to feed and to provide for their families.
Until Africans stop saying YES to being raped by these “carpetbagger companies”… we will continue to see marketing ruses by running dog companies like AOL Time Warner- who are all part of the same club of shareholders that Anglo American , De Beers and others are. There is no difference between buying blood diamonds and blood oil…as long as it remains a controlled , regulated market… there will be injustice, rape and conflict to maintain that control.
PRD. “ a progressive socialist”-