Sierra Leone

Topics: Diamond, Blood diamond, Sierra Leone Pages: 2 (719 words) Published: March 14, 2013
Sierra Leone's bloody civil war, for instance, could not have continued without profits from diamond sales, which funded the murderous Revolutionary United Front (RUF). For this reason, in early July 2000, the United Nations (U.N.) imposed an 18-month ban on diamonds imported from that west African country. A week later, De Beers, the world's largest diamond seller, announced a number of changes in its practices, and a week after that, an international gathering of the diamond industry called for measures to reduce traffic in "blood diamonds".

uring the following two weeks, attention turned to larger, legal international diamond miners and sellers, in particular the leading firm in the diamond industry, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. of South Africa. Founded in the late nineteenth century by the notorious British colonialist Cecil Rhodes, De Beers developed a virtual lock on the international diamond market in the twentieth century. This it did in part by establishing control at all levels, from mining to distribution to pricing. It also managed its image through clever public relations and advertising, most notably the "A Diamond Is Forever" ad campaign, whichAdvertising Age in 2000 chose as the advertising slogan of the century. With its grasp of image management, De Beers has somehow steered a fine political line, on the one hand associating with some of the shadiest regimes and armies, and on the other hand maintaining a squeaky-clean public appearance. In its native South Africa, the company profited from cheap black labor under the system of segregation and repression known as apartheid, but once the outcry against apartheid at home and abroad became too forceful to be ignored, De Beers began repositioning itself. As Lynne Duke noted in the Washington Post, "in 1994, when South Africa went democratic, De Beers executives emerged with reputations as white reformers for having spoken out against apartheid." De Beers had bought diamonds from murderous...
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