Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blood Diamonds? Another do gooder project that hurts Africans?

from Spiked! on line:


Take Zimbabwe for instance, the latest cause célèbre of the blood diamond lobbyists. In recent years, Zimbabwean stones have flooded the market, and one has to marvel at the resourcefulness of locals who scramble beneath the barbed wire of state interference. A few years back, near the border with Mozambique, an enterprising Zimbabwean stumbled on what turned out to be perhaps the largest diamond field in the world and happily set about exploiting his find until big wigs from the ruling Zanu-PF party decreed it state property. The state killed scores of diggers trying to eke out a modest living. Still, the traders find ways to smuggle and bribe their way to South Africa, clutching parcels of stones to trade and feed their families back home.

This case hardly fits the KPC template: it is a purely economic conflict and has nothing to do with rebel warfare against governments. That Zimbabwean diamonds sustain and nurture a despicable regime is indisputable. But the same diamond thieves who run the country also control the black markets in fuel and foreign exchange. Perhaps we need certification processes for these, too?

Reports from Mozambique suggest that between 100 and 1,000 smugglers do errands for Zimbabwean army officers each day, taking stones from Mutare in eastern Zimbabwe to Vila de Manica in Mozambique, where they are purchased for about $25 a carat by Lebanese traders and then sold on to overseas buyers for as much as $1,000 per carat. That still does not classify these stones as blood diamonds: there is no ongoing war to warrant such a label....

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