Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blood Diamonds

After watching a National Geographic Channel documentary on diamonds, I began to dislike these petty rocks. They may be sparkly and last forever, but some diamonds have been paid for with the blood of innocents in war. Blood diamonds, or those that come from war-torn regions (like Liberia, Angola, Congo, Zimbabwe, etc.), are sold by rebel groups / insurgents, in exchange for weapons to be used to kill people and destroy lives. These diamonds have been mined in terrible conditions and by prisoners-of-war or slaves held at gunpoint. Many people die - women, children, the sick and the elderly - at the diamond mines. How could anyone wear this rock on their finger as a promise of love, without seeing the faces of those murdered in exchange for it?

I remember a story I read as a child in a storybook written by Oscar Wilde. It's about a prince who dreamed of what he wanted to wear in his coronation. He saw a young boy diving for pearls in sea, paying the price of a perfect pearl with his own life. He saw slaves digging for rubies being whipped by a tyrant slave master. He saw gold vestments being woven by child laborers who work in the cold, having eaten only a single measly meal for the day. In the end, he went to his coronation in the simplest of garments - and ruled as the best king of his land. 

The most precious things in life aren't the ones that are superficial. A diamond may be precious, but a human life is priceless.