For Blood Diamonds

Interesting letter today:

Blood Diamonds Are a Real Issue

Jack Jolis argues that because not all diamonds fuel war and not all wars are fueled by diamonds, blood diamonds don’t exist. This is a classic case of reductio ad absurdum and would be funny if it wasn’t so insulting to the impoverished citizens of resource-rich nations deprived of their right to benefit from their country’s natural wealth (“Naomi Campbell and the ‘Blood Diamond’ Hoax,” op-ed, Aug. 10).

Global Witness has shown time and time again how natural resources can cause and prolong conflict. Mr. Jolis mocks, but cocoa was a very real driver of violence and venality in the Ivory Coast; timber helped fund the final thrashings of the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and minerals such as tin and tantalum are exacerbating fighting in the Congo. Even “blood bananas” existed: They helped fund warlords in Somalia. The United Nations recently estimated that over the past 60 years at least 40% of civil wars have been connected with natural resources.

Cheap potshots at the Kimberley Process compound the inadequacy of Mr. Jolis’s argument. Yes, the scheme is flawed, and among the challenges facing it is the difficulty of tracing and identifying diamonds. Surely this makes the case for the scheme’s existence, not against it.

Gavin Hayman

Global Witness



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