Journal Four-Christine Mailey
Diamonds in Sierra Leone and the Kono District
Our readings in "A Long Way Gone" haven't addressed the issues as to why there is a civil war taking place. In our readings, the rebels are killing the civilians and destroying their villages. Is it over diamond control? Diamonds in this region were referred to as Blood Diamonds, because the civil war was financed by them. Before the start of the civil war in 1991, the majority of the population were mining for minerals, such as gold, iron, aluminum, and the biggest being diamonds. To put in perspective of how much land was being mined was 7,700 square miles. There is 640 acres in one square mile. The Kono District was one of four districts that were located near drainage of rivers. This is where the majority of the diamonds were mined.
It is believed as much as fifty percent of Sierra Leone's diamonds were smuggled yearly. This would be a link to the extreme violence we are reading about in Beah's book. The violence from the war resulted in the United Nations taking action. They began to enforce embargoes on diamonds. They also put in place, The Kimberley Process. This was a certification monitoring, that began from the origin of the mine, until it was in the hands of the distributor. The United States is working on legislation called The Clean Diamond Act. It is a process to ban diamonds from any unknown sources. The United States in 2009 was receiving exports totaling $35,920,300.00 from the Sierra Leone region.
Learning these facts about diamonds may have a direct relation to the conflict we are reading about. This would make more sense to me. I am now wondering is diamond control the reason for the carnage that Beah writes about in his book. It is haunting to me, people would do such horrible things to other human beings because of greed.
web.stanford.edu/class/e297a/Conflict in Sierra Leone.htm