The Leonardo DiCaprio film “Blood Diamonds” informed a whole generation of moviegoers how illicit trading in diamonds fuels oppression of native people in Africa and civil wars between neighbors.
For years, international organizations have sought to stop the trade of so-called blood diamonds. If militias in Africa no longer find a market for their diamonds, they will no longer have money to purchase arms, the argument. These militias not only practice modern-day slavery by forcing kidnapped Africans to work with them, a fight over turf often ensues costing countless lives. Several international NGOs have raised the issue and put pressure on both private firms and the United Nations to monitor the trade of diamonds and stop importation of diamonds procured through militia savagery.
It was six years that the world joined in an effort to stop blood diamonds. Ian Smillie was the organizer of what become known as the Kimberley Process – a joint effort uniting 49 leaders in government, industry and NGOs to certify diamonds and end illicit trade that fuel wars.
Now Ian Smillie has quit because he states that once again blood diamonds have entered the market and, if action is not taken, blood diamonds will soon appear in the shop windows of New York. Blood diamond sales can only cease if those who traffic in them realize that there is no market. Once a sliver of blood diamonds makes it way, though, traders realize they can once again get away with illicit sales then the whole certification process falls apart.
Although there are many culprits, one of the nations behind the weakening of the United Nations-backed Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is Lebanon:
“Lebanon is exporting more rough diamonds than it imports despite having no local deposits.”
It is ironic that if any Middle East nation is going to trade in blood diamonds it would be Lebanon and not Israel seeing how the latter has a well-established diamond trade industry [including a famous diamond store chain].
But then Lebanon lacks a coherent state structure to control illegal activity as other states mostly do.