Prof. P.M. Roach
Politics & Cultures of Africa
Ever since British geologists first discovered diamonds in Sierra Leone's jungles in the 1930's, diamonds have been a key factor in the bloody conflict that has ravaged this small West African country. In his novel, Blood Diamonds, Greg Campbell captures the heart wrenching story of one man's encounter with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel group in Sierra Leone, infamous for their brutal tactics of mass rape, torture, looting, and excruciations. But their signature and most documented form of persecution -- amputation: Ismael Dalramy lost his hands in 1999 with two quick blows of an ax. He didn'tor couldn'trecall the pain of the blows. But he remembers being ordered at gunpoint to place his wrists on wooden stumps dripping with the blood of his neighbors who were writhing on the ground around him trying to stem the flow of blood from their arms or staggering away. (xiii) Diamonds have been an important catalyst for the economic growth and development in many African countries. Unfortunately, diamonds have also been the source of extreme devastation for millions of people like Dalramy who live in places that are abundant in the mineral, similar to the village town of Koidu. Dalramy and millions of others in Sierra Leone have paid for this precious luxury with their own flesh. Only to have these stone fund their aggressors such as the RUF in ammunition and supplies. Since the RUF's Operation Clean Sweep --the very same operation that took Dalramy's hands. The rebels have sold millions of dollars worth of diamonds in the world's marketing channels. "
It is believed the RUF grossed between $25 million and $125 million per year by delivering rough gem quality diamonds into the insatiable maw of the world's diamond market" (xxii). Most people know little about the devastation that's caused in the effort to secure the precious gems. As news circulated around the world with "images of...
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