Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Diamonds are NOT This Girl's Best Friend


They are rocks.

Rocks that men use to swoon their women.

Rocks that women use to flaunt their wealth, or their man's wealth.

Diamonds hypnotize the masses and delude the hoards into believing they add some kind of value or meaning to their life, therefore convincing them to pay ridiculous prices for appearances.

But the biggest price, the real price, is paid by the innocent. The innocent whose only crime is being born in a place where diamonds are found. The innocent who are forced to work in the diamond fields under horribly violent conditions, for no other pay than being allowed to live.

And sometimes they are not even given that.

Diamonds have fueled injustice throughout the world from the funding of corrupt causes, to exploiting the weak, to in itself creating conflicts. In 2000 there was a great awakening to the human rights issues surrounding diamonds, and as a result the Kimberley Process was created and in 2003 began regulating diamond production and trade.

In the last eight years the Kimberley Process has done much to prevent human rights violations due to the diamond trade, but the process has in no way vanquished the problem. Smuggling is still a problem, as well injustice slipping through the cracks. And in the end, the Kimberley Process has little control over how the  funds a country recieves from its diamonds are distributed.

Yesterday another leak in the system was revealed, as the Marange Fields in Zimbabwe recieved approval through the Kimberley Process for their diamonds to be exported and sold in major markets throughout the world.

Zimbabwe estimates 2 billion dollars in revenue from these diamond fields, which will surely create even greater disparity between the abundant wealth of Mugabe and his loyalists and the majority~ a severely impoverished population.

In addition to this, approval of diamonds mined in the Marange Fields for international trade is a scandal in itself. Reports say that the approval of Zimbabwe diamonds was a "compromise" to end a deadlocked vote. The US "compromised" by abstaining their vote. Morally they (we) knew that the reports made by several human rights groups condemning the brutality and violence used in the mining of these fields were true. So in good conscience we couldn't vote for the approval, so we compromised our opportunity to stand up for the powerless and chose silence instead.

But what it really comes down to is that we have compromised human rights to make women around the world look pretty.

We have compromised integrity to fill the wallets of the greedy.

And we have compromised the lives of many ...for mere rocks.  

Diamonds are only as valuable as we make them my friends. So ask yourself, is that rock worth someone's life?


Wendi said...

Oh the complicated and corrupt systems that keep things the way they are. We can't rely on governments, we must be willing to make a difference ourselves, whenever God opens a door.


Mark Langham said...

What a great blog!!!!!! Thank you!!!!

Shanda said...

Great post. I actually served as a missionary in Zimbabwe and married a man from there so this resignated with my soul.
We refuse to wear fir to save the wild animals, recycle to save the trees. Maybe we should boycott diamonds. I had never thought of it before but that cause is far more important than others we stand for.

Rebecca said...

Shanda- Thank you...Zimbabwe is close to my heart as well. And yes, it seems as though our priorities are pretty flipped a lot of the time.

I am happy you came by. I am intrigued by your story and can't wait to go read more :)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

The troubling thing to me is that almost as soon as we (the mainstream) became aware of this issue, the industry began offering "conflict free" diamonds so that we could continue to buy diamonds without the bother of conscience.

Like "Fair-Trade" or "Direct Trade" or "Organic", we are given rubber stamp assurances that our indulgences aren't hurting anyone. But, if an industry is so flawed, in order to fix it you would have to completely change the way you operate. So you HAVE to wonder why the "solution" comes so easily. Why would a ridiculously successful company be so willing to take huge losses?

The answer is that they are not. Global labor and fair wage laws aren't good enough. Successful businesses will always place profits over conscience because that's just how we work. The only conflict-free diamond is one that's still in the ground.

Rebecca said...

@Sarah- I have always been sure that there are plenty cracks in the system, but with the recent approval, it completely makes me question the integrity of the entire system.

Sadly, businesses are greedy, and we only continue to fuel their greed by our willingness to sacrifice the important for the superficial. Wish there were enough of us to take a stand to ignite change, but sadly I don't know if its possible to snap so many out of their hypnotic daze.

Jennifer said...

Wow. So eye-opening.

Shanda said...

Great post. I was actually a missionary in Zimbabwe then married a man from there. I was there last year and return next year to do some seminars on "Preparing women for ministry' I'm loving looking through your blog.