December 19, 2006

'Blood Diamond'


Sierra Leone's bloody civil war of the late 90's is captured by this action packed thriller, "Blood Diamond", starring Leonardo DiCaprio and the Beninese actor Djimon Hinsou of the "Amistad" fame. Perhaps the United Nations can set up a partnership with Hollywood for catching public attention and raising public awareness about issues that plague our world today; Sierra Leone, Darfur, Afghanistan, Colombia. This movie successfully brings out the issue of illegal diamond mining in Sierra Leone and the illicit sale of diamonds thereof. The pathetic plight of the exploited diamond mine workers is whipped to the forefront by Zwick's thriller. No individual having watched this movie would be able to buy a diamond without wondering whether it is a 'conflict diamond'! It may be wishful thinking on my part but possibly the Diamond District in New York may have taken a temporary hit because of this movie. Couples wanting to get engaged may, for the time being, have been guilted out of buying that diamond ring!

Illicit diamond mining has been a major issue at various global conferences these past few years, yet, that hasn’t affected diamond sales in any significant way. Primarily for two reasons: one that global issues such as these seldom break the confines of the conference sites or the tenement of an exclusive bureacracy to reach the common man. The other reason is that the social conscience of most human beings is very easily appeased by words: “the diamond I buy is not a ‘conflict diamond’”, " I made sure I did not buy a diamond from Sierra Leone". These consolatory words do two things: placate a stirring conscience back into apathy, and convince the buyer to go ahead and write the check to get ownership of a diamond. If anything, movies like 'Blood Diamond' could only affect how diamonds get marketed to the general public henceforth. For instance Tiffany could market its diamonds using a different line: “flash it without guilt”, ‘your diamond, your conscience keeper’, and other such euphemisms.

Statistics show that Americans are prolific diamond buyers, and knowingly or otherwise may have sparked off and sustained many vicious wars in places such as Sierra Leone. Movies such as “Blood Diamond”, therefore, may raise public awareness of global issues in the American public, but whether it’ll bring about a change in the life of those exploited workers in Sierra Leone is debatable.

A trifle violent and at times gory, 'Blood Diamond' is definitely worth watching, if only to nudge us out of our complacency.

17 comments:

EXSENO said...

Oh, I've been wanting to see that movie, I'd much rather see a movie that is made from truth. I had no idea about all of this until I heard about this movie so it seems to me that the major part of the US public was totally unaware also.

sharique said...

May be you should have shed some light on the ground realities. I mean how are the people in Sierra Leone are exploited. But i am a bit wary of your conclusion that Diamond District in New York may have taken a temporary hit because of this movie.
It would be great if UN is able to garner public support by such movies but then the damn corporate world would never let it do that!

Same was the case with pepsi and coke here in India. The level of pesticides was found to above the permissible limit..there was hoopla for few days and then everything settled down. People and even children drink that damn drink without bothering about the risk factor. The corporate world's persuasion and allurement cannot be easily desisted.

starry nights said...

Have to wait for the movie to come out on DVD. cannot go to the movies yet.You are so right.public awareness is the key. I myself was not aware of the illicit diamond mining.Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, I saw the movie last weekend. In my post I talked about how it's sad that Americans find out about conflict diamonds via a Hollywood movie.
You knwo the movie was critiques by some cos of it's stance, they thought they did not do it well. I was like huh?

Anonymous said...

i did two things after reading this post

^ read abt the movie and got this - "In America it's 'bling bling,' but out here, it's 'bling bang,"

^ I read a few articles on the internet regarding the illicit diamond business in leone. One of the articles had a different point that the revolutionary united front was just a claptrap organisation which was extremely corrupt. so for that diamond access a lot of external agencies tied up with RUF and supplied arms.

Thanks for the post.

eshuneutics said...

An intriguing review and not a movie I had heard of. Do have a good holiday when it starts. Thanks for all your interesting posts in 2006!

Anonymous said...

I am going to be cynical and going to ask you when does any kind of nudge ever push the complacancy?
I mean there have been several great movies.
It doesnt matter.
Pain is relative to self and only those who experience it want something done... No one cares.
Reason why the movie was made?
Box office success...
Intresting idea though would love to watch it

Isha' said...

Definitely you have a style!

Honestly, I had no clue about all this. Ignorance is bliss, they say...

_Jonathan_ said...

I wanna see that movie!
Have a nice Xmas eve... and MERRY CHRISTMAS my...
goodbye and good night...

Pacze Moj said...

Isn't the film a bit of diamond mining itself? It was, after all, as pricky said, made to make money.

Or, if Blood Diamond truly is a noble venture meant to raise awareness about "conflict diamonds", destroy the diamond market, end violence, whatever, then it's a truly noble venture made by the same type of "corporate world" as that which does the mining.

Choose your dilemma...

Anonymous said...

III...I don't know, but those who make these films, do they do something for the cause except the potrayl? And for how long that thought lingers on...about not being a proud owner of "Blood Diamond?" Though the effort is praiseworthy, as you rightly summed it up if only to nudge us out of our complacency.

SR said...

i also saw the movie in theaters and was equally moved by it. however, i know, from PCV friends, that smuggling diamonds out of sierra leone to a non-"conflict diamond" country is a cinch (unlike what was shown in the movie). there really is no way to be sure that the diamonds you buy are not conflict diamonds.

nandi23 said...

I first came across this issue in a book by sidney sheldon,( forgot the name) then I wondered about it and cemented it in my mind after jonathan's swifts accounts of our pettiness and the yahoo's fight for the shiny stone in gulliver's travels. I still do not know why there is such a big deal over it, just a shiny stone, which serves no purpose except an ornamental purpose for most humans.
I always laugh at those jewelery store advertisments that say 'give her a diamond to show her how much you love her' because then I wonder, so normally only a diamond can spell love and usually people cannot show love in other way?
haven't seen this one as yet though, but it is on my must see list. thanks for posting about it Id.

nandi23 said...

I always think though that there is one way to end it. the consumer should understand that they can do their part as well, if there is no demand, then why should one bother with supply?

Id it is said...

Nandi,
As consumers that's the one bit we could definitely do! Incidentally there's a signed petition that you may want to do against these conflict diamonds. It appears as an ad on the side bar to my posts.

nandi23 said...

I cannot find the link for the petition:(...either way though I still cannot understand why would someone pay so much for little stone that has no real use for them.)

www.banishbling.org said...

Hey guys, check this out. It's a fun new initiative that was just launched yesterday and that everyone can participate in:

http://www.banishbling.org