Salone News

Sierra Leone’s blood diamonds in Hollywood

18 December 2006 at 23:01 | 592 views

By Abu B. Shaw, Vanguard London Bureau Chief

A Hollywood blockbuster movie, BLOOD DIAMOND, reminiscent of the illegal diamond trade around the world particularly from war-ravaged Sierra Leone, has been screened recently in cinemas across the United states and Canada with an exhilarating impact.

The release of this film early December has coincided with the dogged determination of western powers, led by British Prime Minister Tony Blair,to remove the stigma of exploitation and carnage associated with this precious mineral around the world, and to bring violators of the mining industry to book.

BLOOD DIAMOND, starring by Oscar winning TITANIC actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, and co-starred by Djnon Hounsou, an African from the West African state of Benin Republic is a wonderful work of art wowing critics all of the world. Actor Hounsou rose to prominence when he starred in AMISTAD, produced and directed by Hollywood heavyweight, Steven Spielberg. AMISTAD on the infamous slave trade that took place in the West African country.

This is a brief review of the BLOOD DIAMOND story:
Against the backdrop of civil war and chaos in 1990’s Sierra Leone, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio, photo),a South African mercenary and Solomon Vandy (Djnon Hounsou), a mende fisherman, are joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond that can transform their lives.

While in prison for smuggling, Archer learns that Solomon - who was taken from his family and forced to work in diamonds - has found and hidden the extraordinary rough stone.

With the help of Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), an American journalist,
who is deeply connected with Archer’s idealism, the two men embark on a trek through rebel territory, a journey that could save Solomon’s family and give Archer a second chance in life.

The BLOOD DIAMOND film reminds viewers of how diamonds mined in Africa and beyond were sold to the West to purchase arms for machete - wielding rebel groups. Peace keeping forces are also being advised to desist from such illegal trade to show a semblance of neutrality to warring factions.

Away from the movie, Tony Blair’s war on blood diamonds is putting Britain in a new sphere to crack down on illicit traders of these precious gems as part of the war on terror.

The British government hopes this move will help eliminate the multi-billion dollar underground trade in diamonds mined war zones in West Africa and beyond from fuelling the machines of terrorists like al-Qaeda.

In London, reports have confirmed that the Foreign Office is currently working with Customs round the clock to monitor all shipments from West Africa.

Film experts have already predicted that the BLOOD DIAMOND movie is in line for a Golden Globe Oscar award.