March 22, 2001 By E-Mail Awaiting name of writer

Diamonds make Africa suffer?

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Brothers and Sisters,

It is a mournful and bleak time for West Africans. Indeed for Africans all over the continent. They are suffering untold horror, the likes of which can only be compared with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Blood is running through the streets and into the rivers. Safe haven is nowhere to be found; only war and fear we in the diaspora could not in our wildest dreams imagine. The greatest human suffering of our time.

The United Nation in its attempt find out just who is supplying and aiding rebels produced "The Report Of The Panel Of Experts Appointed pursuant to the UN Security Council Resolution 1306(2000), Paragraph 19 in Relation to Sierra Leone" While the report did unintentionally reveal many truths about the crisis in West Africa, we consider it racist even though the panel was multi-racial.

The recommendations of the report clearly scapegoat the Africans being accused of fueling the conflict in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and relegated the non-Africans involved to a somewhat lesser degree of guilt in this great tragedy. There is clear evidence of international intrigue surrounding Africa's mineral resources by multi-national corporation and their agents, a large web of international criminals that are contributing to make war in other African countries such as Angola and Congo. These are the true international criminals and human rights violators that must be stopped if war in Africa is to stop. Africans do not make, guns, bullets, rocket propelled grenades, bombs or land mines(which by the way is a subject of great concern to us), heroin or cocaine and we don't own the planes that fly them into Africa in the first place. Yet only "Soft" recommendations are being made against these international criminals and the diamond monopoly that they serve. Why is it that there are "Severe" recommendations for actions against people like Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh? Why not charge everyone involved in this genocide against the people of Africa and subject some of the other culprits in your report to the same recommendations for punishment for their crimes against humanity.

Additionally, the report neglected to provide any information on the bank accounts of these individuals clearly involved in this conflict. I found it very strange that no information or recommendations were made in pursuit of the illicit cash from the sale of arms, diamonds and drugs! The world should know who is benefiting the most financially from war in West Africa. These monies should be returned to the people of West Africa and those responsible should be held accountable to the strictest letter of the law be they RUF, be they Liberian, be they British, Israeli, Lebanese, Belgian, Canadian or American. Severe actions should be taken against multi-national corporations as "those most responsible" for their involvement in mercenary actives and countries that have not signed the 1989 UN Convention on the Recruitment, Use, Training and Financing of Mercenaries. The way to "encourage them to sign" as stated in the report is to threaten them with sanctions and embargoes the same way African countries are threaded. Its called equal accountability for all those that have contributed to the systematic exploitation and destabilization of Africa.

We must also consider who benefits from the further destabilization of West Africa. Further instability only benefits the diamond monopoly and their cohorts. If there is war in all the regions were alluvial diamond mining is being done than there is greater control over the supply of diamonds on the market. If the regions where alluvial diamonds are available, are considered "No Mans Land" only the strongest and the bravest would be capable of getting any diamonds out of the area and the diamond monopoly has them covered by there agents. "No Mans Land" will also prevent any legitimate companies outside the diamond monopoly's cartel from encroaching on what they consider theirs. Most of all it prevents the local people from going back home and mining for themselves and selling the diamonds to whom ever they choose. In addition, the global certification system also helps the diamond monopoly by preventing anyone from selling diamonds whether it be the rebels or otherwise. Now all diamonds will be subject to the global certification system which proportedly can determine the origin of diamonds.

This system does nothing but further deflates the value of rough diamond to the African, encourages illicit active and corruption at the government level, which has been the case even before the war, and still does not address the issue of fairly traded goods to the African.

The records of the CSO(Central Selling Office) in London, indicates that the diamond monopoly has a Hugh surplus and enjoyed some 75 billion dollars(US billion) in sales last year. Independent research suggests that if diamonds where to be traded on the open market outside the cartel, the theories of supply and demand will take effect and the value of diamonds will drop considerable thus devaluing the market for diamonds. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that alluvial diamond mining in West Africa is destroying their monopoly. Why is it that almost no attention has been paid to this subject. It at least warrants some investigation. In an earlier report "The Heart of The Matter" complied by UN Panel Diamond expert Ian Smillie this is what was said about DeBeers:

Until the 1980s, De Beers was directly involved in Sierra Leone, had concessions to mine diamonds offshore, and maintained an office in Freetown. Since then, however, the relationship has been indirect. De Beers maintains a diamond trading company in Liberia and a buying office in Conakry, Guinea.[1] Both countries produce very few diamonds themselves, and Liberia is widely understood to be a 'transit' country for smuggled diamonds. Many 'Liberian' diamonds are of Sierra Leonean origin, and others reportedly originate as far away as Russia and Angola. De Beers says that it does not purchase Sierra Leonean diamonds. Through its companies and buying offices in West Africa, however, and in its attempts to mop up supplies everywhere in the world, it is virtually inconceivable that the company is not - in one way or another - purchasing diamonds that have been smuggled out of Sierra Leone.

This report took note of the shady involvement of De Beers and the individuals and companies to which they relate indirectly to Sierra Leone, yet the recommendations made against them were lukewarm to say the least. Clearly the war escalated after the 1980's and escalated even further in the mid 1990's after the introduction of Mercenaries linked with multi-national diamond mining corporations.

Finally, we must be careful not to promote further instability in West Africa at this pivotal time for the Mano River States of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. President Charles Taylor of Liberia has waved all rights to personal privacy and encouraged the UN to "LOOK FOR THE MONEY" from the diamond deals that have been alleged against he. He has offered to resign the office of the Presidency of Liberia if the UN could prove that he had anything to do with arms dealing and diamond smuggling in Liberia. Would any of the individuals named in the UN report as contributors to the crisis allow the same kind of scrutiny to be meted out on them? No one is talking about where all the money involved in the diamond trade is going or has gone to in the past. We would like to know were all the money is?

As we speak most West Africans from Guinea to Ivory Coast are nothing but a roving bunch of refugees running helter skelter from one country to the next living in constant fear and under threat of death from any number of warring factors. All so that the rich and powerful will remain just that. We must be ever diligent in not creating any further destabilization of West Africa.

I am not implying that the people how compiled this UN report are racist, but I would recommend that an anti-discrimination and race relations specialist be added as an expert to any further panels. Even many people of non-European decent sometimes do not realize that we are being racist against ourselves due to the miseducation, misinformation and the unfortunate system of patronage institutionalized since the first colonization.

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