Sunday, December 10, 2006

Diamonds, Blood, Rush and Rhinestones

We went and saw "Blood Diamond" over the weekend. That's not a still from the movie that I have posted. It's an actual picture of a 17 year old whose hands were cut off with machetes by the Sierra Leone rebels. Source this page. I think that most people were not aware of the way that the diamond industry was being fueled by these horrible practices, and vice-versa (see links at bottom of post). I certainly was not aware of it until very recently, and now this new film is making awareness more widespread (and sending the diamond industry into a tailspin of reactive PR).

Gasbag Rush Limbaugh has launched a rant on the topic of conflict-free diamonds, and stop the tape indeed, I actually agree with him on one point. I really don't see how a certification can possibly guarantee that the diamonds you are buying are conflict-free. Bribery, smuggling, and undercover and unregulated corporate dealings are still very much in place. And whoaaa, hold the horses again, because he points out that there is no terror-free oil. I agree with that too. Oil is not something that I am living independant of, I wish I were. I wish we all were. But diamonds, at least as jewelry (as the issue is being discussed here) are very much a NON-necessity. Maybe I'm fortunate (or maybe UNfortunate in a sour grapes sort of way) but I've never liked diamonds. I've never understood why they were more valuable than rhinestones... maybe a little more valuable, but the pricing is outrageous. I was brought up to dislike snootiness, and it must have stuck. There is a scene in the movie (and not meaning to spoil anything... don't think I am) where they show how the diamond company stores its largest and most valuable diamonds... locked in a vault/drawer, not even displayed. I don't know if that's really the case, but it's plausible, isn't it?

If you think that diamonds signify eternal love, then you've obviously never pawned an old wedding set after a divorce. I was talked into a scratchy rock that stood up off my finger in a previous life (when I really wanted just a plain band -- but future mothers-in-law rule sometimes), and the thought of that jewelry set being melted down and recycled into something to symbolize eternal love for someone else bothered me not one iota.

As a movie, we really thought it was good, and that DiCaprio hit another one out of the park. Between this and his role in "The Departed" I think he's got a great chance at a Best Actor Oscar. He has really developed into a fine actor. Also, it's a great action movie even if you are more into that than the particular plot details... and there's a love story in it... hope that's not a spoiler... so something for everyone.

Links: Amnesty Int'l Conflict Diamonds and Human Rights
SPROL, article includes Google satellite maps and more references
Film Review Flick filosopher

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Fernando said...

What good are diamonds if they are mostly just used to seperate the haves from the have nots anyway?

Michael Bains said...

One of the things making Diamond digging nations so desperate is the fact synthetic diamonds are gaining in clarity and brilliance. They're not going to be just for industrial purposes sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Then... well I don't know what then.

We'll see.

I thought 'bout seeing this over the weekend, but mi amiga swayed me to check out Nutboy Mel's Apocalypto instead. Gotta give him credit; 'twas excellent.

Unfortunately, as I'm not "see it alone" kinda guy, and don't think she'll be down for this one, I may not get the chance to check it out. I'm glad it was good though. Maybe I'll find a way.

Michael Bains said...

Oh yah! I stopped by cuz I's watchin' this show on Sundance channel (playin' hooky from work today, eh.) It's a festival from '04 called We Have Arrived: Bonnaroo 2004 and there're all kinds of cool bands and folks jammin' at it. Don't know where Bonnaroo may be, but is a rockin' time, and no doubt about it!

Check 'er out if ya gets the Sundance, eh.

See ya BB!

Blueberry said...

I don't care for Mel in the "real world" but he's a good moviemaker, wouldn't mind seeing that one too. We've taken a permanent pass on "the Passion" though. Maybe you can see Blood Diamond as a rental someday, or on Cable.

Yeah, Bonnaroo, I'm familiar with that one. Haven't been but know a lot of the bands who play there. It's in Tennessee.


Anonymous said...

I don't even like diamonds. I do love silver & turquoise, though.
Thanks for posting this. Incredibly sad, but a must-read for everyone.