May 6, 2008

Kimberley is Better Than Making My 6 Year Old Paint the House: Continuing Series

This is Part 5 of an ongoing series. Other posts in this series - Preview, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

I haven’t touched on the blood diamond issue much. So far, I have let a video speak on that issue. It is important though to know a bit about a system that the diamond industry has put into place in order to address the matter.

In 2001, through international pressure, the Kimberley Process was created. Kimberley harkening back to the company that DeBeers ran out of business in 1880, which took its name from kimberlite, the material which points to the existence of a diamond deposit. The Kimberley Process is a feel good program, even better for the soul than recycling to save a couple baby seals from being exploited in a Girls Gone Wild video.

Any nation that exports diamonds is required to seal the stones inside a tamperproof container along with a document certifying that they were not mined in the midst of a war. A method to end the sale of blood diamonds, a campaign to make buyers feel all warm inside and able to sleep at night.

“Today’s diamonds from Angola are even more suspect, in some ways, because they carry a veneer of purity while they continue to be mined in a virtual war zone.” (p. 170).

In a conversation with Mark H.G. Van Bockstael, the director if international affairs and trade for the High Diamond Council, the typical face for the Kimberley Process, Mr. Van Bockstael admitted, “In terms of the social atmosphere where diamonds are produced – the Kimberley Process is not at all concerned with that. It is only concerned with a formal definition of war”. (p. 190)

Despite the fact that the diamonds may have been mined at gunpoint, resulting in the deaths of some suspected “smugglers” or “thief’s”, the only way a diamond would be excluded as a blood diamond would be if it came from an actual war zone, a fact that creates much criticism for the Kimberley Process.

Please check out this link for further details on the failures surrounding the Kimberley Process.

How about child labor? Poor Kathie Lee Gifford was strung up for her clothing line. Practically overnight, she became the face of child labor.

Have you ever heard how your diamond goes from being a boring pebble to a gorgeous diamond?

Once a diamond is removed from the ground, it is most likely sent to a Surat, India for polishing and cutting. Surat, near Bombay (Mumbai) is one of the central cities for diamond polishing, holding 92% of the market. As Surat grew more popular among the diamond industry, its population swelled. In 1994, Surat was hit with the bubonic plague.

Child labor was frequent in these mills, but in recent years, this has receded in larger operations. Although it is estimated that 20% of the workforce in Surat is underage, that number amounts to 100,000 children polishing our little trinkets. Further, the dust created from the polishing process has been shown to be related to asthma and lung fibrosis, sometimes fatal.

Don’t worry, I have another link to prove I am not making this stuff up.

Tomorrow, I will be wrapping all this up. Maybe. If you ask nicely.


Kaytabug said...

Okay that's just wrong!

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