Diamonds in Africa
What are the effects of blood diamonds in west and central Africa? Are there any solutions?
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Introduction

Diamond is very rare object to find in our normal society because they are very valuable and expensive. On the other hand, in Africa, people can find it very easily even on the ground. For example, a hunter in Africa had hunted five birds and found diamond in the birds' stomach, which means it is not as scarce mineral there. Therefore, African merchants can sell this to other nations and earn a lot of money, with good price. In theory, diamond is supposed to help African nations economically, but why aren't these countries satisfied with their current economy? Now we must ask ourselves what are the effect of diamonds in Africa? Many people might think that this natural resource is helping Africa, but in reality it is making them more divided into two social brackets, the poor and the rich. Therefore, in this wiki page, we will learn about the causes and effects of blood diamond throughout the history of the whole world and find out the solutions to prevent a brutal war from happening.



Table of Contents
1. Background Information
2. What is the Problem?
3. Where in Africa?
4. Solution
5. Conclusion
6. Video/ Audio/ Analysis
7. Primary source
8. Bibliography



Background Information

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Soldiers
So what is blood diamond? It is referring to a diamond that are mined for a war purpose, sold to finance other rebellions, and warlords' actions. These diamonds exist in Western Africa because there are a lot of civil wars. From here, you might be asking why might there be civil wars in Africa, but not in any other country? First of all, African nations consist of diverse ethnic groups, which leads to problems, such as conflict between cultures. Both ethnic groups look for their benefit and there is problems coexisting in one nation. Also, there are warlords who are power hungry. These leaders capture any random men who oppose them and make the men mine diamonds or make them serve as soldiers. When the workers find diamonds, they are sold as blood diamonds, which supports the civil war on the rebel's side. For these reasons, the Western African nation's economy is not so well because they are very having a very difficult time fighting the wars. More importantly, there are kids who are getting their hands cut off while they are baby because of the civil war and there are people who are starving from death because they only get about half a dollar a day to feed their family. These nations are looking for hope for better life.



What is the Problem?
Africa_diamond_pic13.jpgThe main problem in African nations is that there are many people dying from blood diamonds. Currently, there are over 14 wars in Africa, which are funded by the blood diamonds. For example, Liberia was at war and they had used 250~300 million dollars to fund the war, which is crazy. The government is not the big problem, but the blood diamonds are because it is the only way to fund the war for the countries. During these wars, there are a lot of peoples' hands cut off because the rebels just do that to the oppositions. This is a bad influence to the African nations. The people are getting barely enough money to live because they are at war time. Most of the countries in Africa barely gives any money to the people who mine. For example, in Sierra Leone, the people who mine diamonds only get half a dollar if they find diamond. Thus, this is a serious problem that needs to be solved. Also, the leaders are all dictators, who are just manipulating the people to have war and go against the other sides government. Another crucial information is that the men who works in the mines have to dig everyday without resting a day in an year. For these reasons, these problems need to be solved as quick as possible.



Where in Africa? (Major nations)
The countries situation: They are at war!

1. Angola
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Civil War
This country was at war for thrity five years, which means Angola should be a very undeveloped country. These wars are not to block the foreign invaders, but instead it is a civil war between two groups who are originated from same country, which are MPLA (Popular Movement for the liberation of Angola) and UNITA (National Union for Total Independence of Angola). People might wonder how they are able to fund their civil war without any money? The answer is diamonds. In Angola, diamond mining started back in 1917, which was a good business. Also, Angola has the finest diamond in the world, which means, they can earn more money. As you all know, these diamonds were not just regular diamonds, but blood diamonds, so they were able to use them for war purposes by buying weapons. For example, UNITA had earned 430$ in 1995 by illegal diamond trade and eventually, money was used to arm their soldiers, which is only making the war bigger. The major reason, why the country is at war is because of the Portuguese who tried to colonize Angola.The Portuguese had basically caused the division of Angola. Throughout 1990 to 2000, there has been guerrilla warfare by UNITA, which is killing people who are not a group member of UNITA. The important part is that UNITA is holding a lot of diamond fields that funds the warfare. Many people had starvation because of the war and people had to join the war that was funded by the diamonds. Moreover, people who works in the mine field they barely get any money to support their family. Therefore, in Angola there are a lot of negative effect by the blood diamonds.


2. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
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Suffering of Congo
Congo had been a country with many natural resources from the past, such as diamonds. This country is popular because they are the fourth largest diamond producer in the world. They had been imperialized by the European nations (very similar situation as Angola, but by Belgium), which brought the country into economical and political corruption. Also, the diamonds that were produced in Congo, all went to Europe during the colonization. Even though DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) had been freed from the European nations, they had severe problems with their economy. These diamonds were not use to make people's lives better, but worse. They had used them to fund their civil war during late 1980 to 2000. Also, the diamonds are not legally traded, but illegally. For these reasons, most of the diamonds that were being traded were blood diamonds. For example, the country was able to earn around 715$ by just trading diamonds in 1997. The good thing is that the war did not go for long time compare to Angola. Today, they are working on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme that we will be looking later. Also, there was Clean Diamonds trade Act passed in 2003, that had helped this country to a better nation. Therefore, diamonds had effected the country quite negatively, but in the future, DRC might have better economy with these peace making efforts and the use of natural resources.


3. Liberia
Africa_diamond_pic9.jpgLiberia was at war during 1988 to 2001, same as the other nations, this country was also at brutal civil war. For a basic background, this country was for the people who were captured as slaves in America. Unlike other countries, Liberia was not colonized by any European countries, instead, Liberia was a country that was created by America to put the freed slaves. The African American loved this idea and a lot of people had went to Liberia. Unfortunately, a lot of people ends up becoming just like a slave, again. They all began digging for diamonds on the ground, without any machines, which is a very difficult jobs to do. Even though there was this diamond business, there was no blood diamonds until 1973. All the sudden, there was a rebel groups arise in Liberia that had caused a lot of trouble. These rebels believed that Liberia had really corrupted government, so they were trying to bring a new type of government. In reality, these rebels were going for the diamond in Liberia to be more rich. Eventuall, the UN comes and blocks this action, so now Liberia had became a better country with peace. In Liberia there has been bad effects from the blood diamonds.


4. Sierra Leone
Africa_diamond_pic10.jpgThe affect of diamond in Sierra Leone was really crucial. Even though this country have the best diamond quality in the whole world, they are not maintaining peace within the country. Until today, there has been so many people dead because of the blood diamonds. One day, all the sudden some group of people in Sierra Leone had came to attack the government, and they were called the RUF (Revolutionary United Front). Their main goal was to gain the diamond fields and get the economic benefits from it. The government was so corrupted they really did not have any good solutions against RUF. During, this war time, people suffered a lot. When Sierra Leone government was supported by UN, they were able to defeat the RUF.The biggest problem was that the kids were fighting in this war. The leaders in RUF and the government used kids as their soldiers. Therefore, there were more kids dead in the war instead of men who are older. This was one of the most brutal war in history after the World War 2. This problem was all caused by just simple blood diamonds. The RUF leader Foday, also known as the second Hitler, had tried to control the diamonds to get the economic power. If these diamond did not exist there might have been no inner conflict in Sierra Leone. The most harsh part in this war was that the rebels cut the people limbs who disagreed with them. This was very similar to genocide. Now Sierra Leone is in better condition because they had entered the Kimberley Process Certification. It was amazing how the civil war had caused fifty thousand people dead in just one decade in this small country. Therefore, the existance of blood diamonds had caused another brutal war in a sad country.


5. Cote d'lovire
Africa_diamond_pic11.jpg This countries also had blood diamonds that caused people to suffer. Unlike other western African nation, this country started the diamond business in 1990. Also, the civil war in Cote d'lovire had occurred very recently, which was 1999. This country is really abundant with mineral resources, which means they can sell these resources to other nation to make the economy better. Unfortunately, it is not really making them better nation. Instead there are blood diamonds that is funding the money for the civil war that is killing millions of people in Africa currently. Now the UN had come to save the people in this country and made Cote d'lovire a refugee country from other nations from the blood diamond conflict. Still, there are a lot of conflict going on because of different parties in the government. Again, this country is getting very bad influence from blood diamonds.







Solutions
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The regions that had entered the Kimberley Process

1. Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)
Now you will be wondering how this problem can be solved. In the past, there had been a lot of debates about the problem, but it was very difficult to come up with a conclusion that will solve it. Then one day, people thought of an idea, which was Kimberly Process. This really helped the countries that had blood diamonds going around because this process had suggested that "industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments." (Kimberleyprocess. com) Therefore, the blood diamonds were basically limited in the countries who had them. When this process started the countries did not really care about it, but in 2008, there were 75 nations who had joined Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. As you see a lot of western and central African nations had joined this association, which means blood diamond is being solved throughout the whole world. The next question might be how does this Kimberley Process work? This process works by preventing the conflict diamonds a.k.a blood diamonds to be sold in the global market. Also, the government checks the diamonds, if they are being smuggled or not; therefore it is very effective for the whole world. From Kimberley Process result, there is right now one percent of diamonds that are actually blood diamonds. Before, this process took place, there were 15% of diamonds that were being smuggled. For example, during 1990 in Sierra Leone almost every diamonds were blood diamonds, but now it is opposite. For these reasons, this Kimberley Process Certification Scheme really helped the nations to prevent illicit diamond trade.


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Kimberley Process

2. Clean Diamonds trade Act
This act had also supported the solution to the blood diamonds. It was part of the Kimberly Process. America had send this act to the other nations to the world. A lot of nations started to agree with this idea and the conflict diamonds were now being reduced, which was great. As you see the top picture, there are many nations who are participating for the Clean Diamonds trade Act. Also, at the side it explains the process how it works. The result from the this act was that the wars in Africa had been reduced because they were not using diamonds for war purposes. If this process continues, the conflict diamonds are not going to exist anymore, which will result not many wars in Africa. Therefore, the countries around the world had answer to blood diamonds, which means this problem can be solved better and better.















Video/ Audio/ Analysis/ Primary source

1. Sierra Leone's sadness

This video showed how blood diamonds affected the people in Sierra Leone. The people were really suffering. The rebels purpose was first to get rid of the corrupted government, but in reality they were trying to gain the diamond mines, which makes them in better economical situation. Also, a lot of the soldiers who were really young fought for this war, which showed how harsh this war was. Most importantly, people had their limbs cut off and the youngest one was 2 month year old baby who got his feet chopped off. Therefore, blood diamonds were the cause for all this crucial results. (There were about 50,000 people dead in this war). Most of the historians say that this was one of the most brutal war in history.


2. Congo problem with diamonds

Congo is one of the country with the most natural resources in the world. The problem is that the foreign companies are buying the blood diamonds that gives the company profit instead of the people in Congo.The conflict in Congo is one of the deadliest problem, since World War 2. The people who are mining the diamands get about 30 cents a day or less. On the other hand, the companies have billions of dollar going around everywhere from these natural resources. Even though the Congo citizens work really hard they cannot get enough profit to help out their family. The most important thing is that the people who are mining the diamonds do not have any machines to help them work, instead they have to mine with shovels, which is very difficult. Therefore, in Congo blood diamonds are giving very bad conflicts.


3. The true diamonds in life (blood diamonds)

People use diamonds as a ring for their love, but in Africa there are people dying because of diamonds. In Sierra Leone, there has been civil war that had killed thousands of people because of diamonds. The rebels, RUF had controlled the diamond mines, which made the war even more serious. Even though, people had survived the war, there had been problems to find homes and earn money. Then there has been solution to this by having Kimberley Process Certification, which does not cause any conflicts in the country. Even the foreign nations had agreed on this. For these reasons, the blood diamonds had very bad effects on the Western African countries, but there is solution to it.




Primary source
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Young soldiers

These are young kids participating to the civil war, which shows how war was very cruel and harmful to the teenagers. During the civil war there had been a lot of young soldiers who were fighting because of the rebels were forcing them to. They seem like they are happy, but they are going to war, which will bring them misery later. The soldiers in the back looks very serious, which means they know what is going to happen. Also, the teenagers probably knows nothing about war, which makes them not scared as shown in the picture.



Conclusion
Over decades of time, there has been many people suffering from blood diamonds because it was supporting the civil war. Even now there are a lot of problem with the diamonds because of poverty and starvation. The people are dying because of simple diseases and hunger. Also, most of the civilians in Western Africa are diamond miners and they are barely earning money to feed their own family. When these wars were over their had been better life because of Kimberley Process Certification, which reduced the amount of blood diamonds that were being traded. Then the people were more happy than any time before because the civil wars were being over. Even though diamonds gave bad influence in the past, in the future, it can be different. The tremedous natural resources can help the African to live better lives. Therefore, Africa can be a good nation when they overcome the blood diamonds' negative influences.


P.S. I suggest that if you watch the movie Blood Diamond you will understand this much better!


Biblography
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2. Gritzner, Charles F., and Vernon Domingo. South Africa. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.

3. Rozario, Paul, and Selina Kuo. Liberia. Milwaukee: Gareth stevens, 2003.

4.Kushner, Jo, and Dorothy Gibbs. Welcome to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Milwaukee: Gareth stevens, 2002.


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