BLOODDIAMONDS AND DE BEERS BROTHERS
Indubitably,the diamond market was shaped by the De Beers Company. De BeersCompany was founded by Cecil Rhodes who later founded the state ofRhodesia. Rhodes begun by renting water pumps to miners in the late1860’s during the diamond rush in Kimberley, South Africa. Hiscompany grew vastly and quarter a decade later, he was the sole ownerof all diamond mining operations in South Africa. He adoptedstructures and methods that led to the company owning all diamondoperations in a South Africa. He built De Beers into a singlechannel marketing. De Beers would mine the diamond then channel it tothe consumers through various channels of distribution. In Israel, itwas known as the syndicate, in London it was known as Diamond TradingCompany, in Belgium it was known as the central selling organization.De beers ensured it acquired other smaller mining firms in SouthAfrica but still maintained them individually which practically meantthe company was competing against its constituent companies which wasmonopoly.
DeBeers set the rules of the game if one was to buy diamond from them.Their diamonds were sold in sights which were seasonal events held bythe De Beers company. There was an average of ten sights in an year.The diamond was only sold to sight holders who were diamond dealers,in their respective regions their main business was to cut the stonesand polish them so that they could be in state that end users wouldconsume them in clearing centers such as Tel Aviv, New York andAntwerp. The prices were dictated by the De Beers Company making ita-take-it or leave-it scenario. An individual sight holder would be‘forced’ to purchase a box of uncut diamonds that would costbetween one million dollars and twenty five million dollars. Thediamonds were not to be resold in the uncut form. The sight holderswere also not allowed to haggle. The sight holders were arm twistedto buy the diamond since failure to not purchase would lead to thesight holder not been invited in the consequent events. Purchasingdiamond from another supplier would lead to the sight holderprivilege being revoked. These measures put in place by the De Beersled to them being the major supply of diamond in the early days withover ninety percent of diamond being supplied by the company. Thepercentages has reduced over time statistics showing the cartel nowcontrols less than sixty percent of the diamond in the current globaldiamond market(Falls,451).
Historically,diamonds were viewed as symbols of love, joyful beginnings andcommitments. In many instances they used in weddings, weddingproposals, birthday gifts and other events that were considered tojoy or happiness. Nonetheless, the happiness that was brought by theprecious stones has been for a long time been absent in the diamondrich countries. As history posits, diamonds in diamond-producingcountries have more brought a curse than it has brought blessings.Notably, many of the diamond mines in the world have not onlyproduced diamonds but has also produced violence, civil wars, humanrights exploitation, environmental degradation, constant breaking ofthe law and on other countries blood baths. Amongst the many Africancountries that were affected by civil due to the presence of diamondis Angola a former colony of the Portuguese. Though the countrygained independence in 1975, there were still civil wars and amongstthe MPLA party, UNITA party and the FNLA from a year beforeindependence to the new millennium. According to the United Nations,UNITA sold diamonds that was valued at three point two billiondollars to finance its war with the ruling government then. Inresponse to that the UN banned the purchase of blood diamonds fromAngola. With specific reason for that the diamond sold was used tofacilitate bloodshed. Despite the banning, UNITA party still managedto sell the diamonds and continue financing its wars. The UNappointed Robert Fowler to investigate how the illicit trade wasstill in progress even after the measures were put in place. Thereport was credited with the establishment of the links that existbetween the third world countries and diamonds.
Ina span of half a century, more than seven countries endured brutalcivil wars that were directly fueled by diamonds. Some of thiscountries, include, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, theRepublic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the wealth that came from thesales of the diamonds was being used in financially strengtheningrebel militias and state militaries. In other countries, rivalgroupes would fight each other over supremacy of regions that weredeemed to be rich in diamond minerals. That led to devastatingresults of bloodshed, use of child soldiers, rape and displacement ofmany locals to neighboring countries which has later haunted thecountries that were fled due to brain drain in the economies. Bakeret al (68) explains that some of these civil wars were fueled bywestern countries that had interests in the diamond and wouldtherefore gain if parties fought as they would smuggle the diamond tothe western markets.
TheUnited Nations Security Council Resolution 1173 identified theconflict diamond issue as one of the major contributors to the civilwars in many parts of Africa. The fowler report which gave in-depthinformation on how UNITA financed its war with revenue from diamondby purchasing weapons and funds to fuel the war led to the passing ofthe passing of the 1295 resolution of the United Nations SecurityCouncil (Orogun,68).The diamond producing countries in the South African region met inKimberly South Africa. The agenda was to develop a structure thatwould resolve the conflicts in the trade of diamond. This meeting wasto ensure that consumers would get diamond that would have not led toblood shed or political destabilization in the producing country. TheKimberley process ensured that blood diamond merchants wereblacklisted and stopped from indulging in the trade. It also ensuredthat the diamond would be tracked from the mines. The body alsoensured that the diamond being sold in the market would be firstcertified. Though there are countries that still have civil unrestsdue the presence of the precious stone. The body has done a greatdeal in reducing the wars in many African countries. Perpetrators ofthe heinous acts such as Charles Taylor were in 2013 arrested by theICC and answering charges to crimes against humanity due to theircontribution in the blood diamonds (Ragavanet al, 2016).
Baker,Aryn, Caleb Kabanda, and Franklin Kalombo. "Dirty Diamonds."Time 186.9/10 (2015): 62-69. Academic Search Premier.Web. 7 Aug. 2016.
Falls,Susan. "Picturing Blood Diamonds." Critical Arts: ASouth-North Journal Of Cultural & Media Studies 25.3 (2011):441-466. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Aug. 2016.
Orogun,Paul. "Blood Diamonds" And Africa`s Armed Conflicts In ThePost-Cold War Era." World Affairs 166.3 (2004): 151-161.Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Aug. 2016.
Ragavan,Chitra, and Julian E. Barnes. "Africa`s Most Wanted." U.S.News & World Report 138.18 (2005): 26-28. Academic SearchPremier. Web. 7 Aug. 2016.