Blood Diamond is a dramatic, action-packed Warner Brothers production from 2006 about the mining of conflict or ‘blood’ diamonds in Sierra Leone - not recommended for the feint hearted. Perhaps unsurprisingly the film incorporates some typical blockbuster cliches; the surprising U-turn in attitude by one of the key characters from diamond smuggler to empathetic hero and the struggle for justice, which neatly prevails. Despite the story line itself being fictional, the film does delve into some uncomfortable realities...
Blood diamonds are those that have been mined and sold abroad to finance conflict in the region they are obtained from. The film focuses in on the trade that has been taking place in Sierra Leone, West Africa responsible for funding the civil war the country has endured. The idea of blood diamonds were first brought to public attention by Global Witness back in 1998, when they published the report 'A Rough Trade' about conflict diamonds in Angola. This sparked an international outcry that led to the development of the Kimberley Process, an international certification scheme designed to stop the trade in blood diamonds.
The film places an emphasis on the child soldiers who are taken away from their homes and recruited to join the fighting. Once recruited, they are taught to fear their leaders through violence and intimidation. These children are then armed and sent out to fight and kill. It depicts the distressing way in which these youngsters have their childhoods stripped away from them as well as giving some idea of the emotional torment they suffer as a result of their experiences having been thrust into such extreme and dangerous circumstances.
I found this a hugely moving story which has broadened my understanding as to the cost others are paying in order for us maintain the level of luxury we have become accustomed to.
Blood Diamond is entertaining as a film, and challenging as a message. I encourage you to share it with friends, to show them how our lives connect to those of some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable.
As consumers, being aware of how and where the products we buy are sourced and making decisions with these factors in mind will help prevent this kind of exploitation continuing in the future.