Ever since I saw the 2006 film, conflict or blood diamonds has been a subject of interest to me.
By chance, I saw “Blood Diamonds” by Greg Campbell on the shelf at work, and waited patiently until I could buy it.
The book, first published in 2002 and updated in 2012, outlines the history, politics and economic factors that contributed to a decade of civil war in Sierra Leone in Africa.
Campbell uses his personal experiences and interviews from his time in Sierra Leone as a journalist to supplement his research on the topic of conflict diamonds originating in Sierra Leone.
This book has several graphic portrayals of war horrors, so it’s not a book to take on lightly. But, as America is the largest consumer of diamonds, I think it’s a subject everyone should at least be aware of. Because, as Campbell points out, the problem is not going away.
The war in Sierra Leone may have ended (for now), but the cycle repeats itself in other countries, and the citizens suffer in poverty because, though the nation has vast natural wealth, it is plundered, and none of the money goes back into the country.
“Blood Diamonds” takes an in-depth look at the diamond industry, which turned a blind eye to conflict diamonds throughout the worst years of war. It also takes a close look at how illegal diamond mining and smuggling is a vast reaching network, and how diamonds mined in Sierra Leone were used to fund terrorist attacks, even attacks against America. Diamonds are portable wealth and, thanks to big businesses controlling supply and demand, diamonds are a stable form of wealth, which means they are a safe way to stockpile reserves for whenever one might need it.
Overall, “Blood Diamonds” was an interesting read, and I am prompted now to do some investigating of my own to see how things have progressed in the five years since the book was updated.