Blood diamonds are diamonds that come from areas that are controlled by rebels who are against the government. Some of the countries that have blood diamonds include Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia, Ivory Coast, the Republic of Congo and The Democratic Republic of Congo. In this essay, I am going to talk about the civil war caused by blood diamonds in Sierra Leone, the effect they have had on the people living there and my opinion of them.
In Sierra Leone, from 1991-2002, there was a terrible civil war that killed thousands of people and caused more than two million citizens (over half of the total population) to become refugees. The war started when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) came into Sierra Leone from Liberia. The main reason why they came and started the war was for control over the diamond mines.
The RUF are rebels who would go into villages to kill many people and search for recruits. They took young boys to be child soldiers and forced men to search the mines for diamonds. The RUF would only choose strong boys and men who would be of use to them. Sometimes they would keep a few of the villager’s hostage so the government could not attack them. They raped the women and killed elders who were too weak to be of any use. They cut of people’s body parts to intimidate them. The men who they captured had to search for diamonds. If any of them tried to escape they were tortured then killed. People were sometimes forced to kill their whole family. They chose boys to become soldiers because they were easily brainwashed and they could be manipulated with little effort. Over time, the boys would be so used to the life it would become normal and the only thing that they thought was right is to go around killing people.
When a diamond was found, the rebels sold and used the profit to buy weapons. It was like a cycle. Finding a diamond, selling it, getting money, then using the money to buy more weapons, using the weapons to kill more people and make more people work for them, then finding even more diamonds than before, continuing the cycle. Each time the amount of people in the RUF would get bigger, therefore increasing the amount of money being made and weapons being bought.
The civil war has had a huge impact on the people of Sierra Leone. In 1998, it made Sierra Leone the poorest country in the world, despite their many resources. The people there have suffered a lot trauma. Thousands of people died, people were separated from their families and many lost their homes and became refugees.
I think that this is very tragic that all this is because of wealthy people from the western world who want to look good. It is shocking that people choose the perfect wedding over someone’s life. It is heartbreaking that kids in some third world countries are being forced to live in a life where you are always in fear of being killed.
Luckily, the war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002, but wars just like this are still going on in other third world places and conflict diamonds are still a problem. Hopefully, more people are going to become aware of the problem and help put an end to it.