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Diamond Trade in Africa - Essay Example

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Africa, a continent with a relatively recent discovery f a mass quantity f diamonds, has endured hardship beyond just concede, owed to the unearthing f this unique gem. A sequential exam regarding the history f the diamond and its discovery in Africa must first be summarized in order to grasp the severity f contemporary malice distressing much f the continents populace.
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Diamond Trade in Africa
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Download file to see previous pages Recounting this history shows how Africa and one f its most marketable resources have become entangled in the values f a cultural polyglot f political economies, and the image f the African suffers in its wake; a diminished ability to claim political representation for many African peoples, and a reduced place f participation in the world economies for African nations and Africa, as a global entity is the result. (Sherman 600-615)
As the image f a "chaotic" Africa persists in the historical moment to de-legitimize it as viable agent in international political economies, divorced f its historical circumstances and left to the whim f market forces and subordinating cultural practices, more and more African peoples come to utilizing force and violence in an effort to attain their participation, perpetuating this tragic image. Diamonds, as a product f Western aesthetic values, through the circumstances f history and geology, becomes an ideal medium for this perpetuation. (Olsson 1133-1150)
Although diamonds occur all over Africa, they are accessed most easily in riverbeds via alluvial mining. This requires far less physically intensive effort; as a result, the rivers begin to serve as borders. Mapped as diamond resources, they become instruments f power and ultimately, corruptive relations among the region. In 1997 the NGO Global Witness published an account f the local civil wars entitled Rough Trade. In Angola and Sierra Leone, where mined diamonds were and are being used to fund violent struggles over land, resources and political representation, the rivers have become charted as the cultural resources f various divisions under the patronage f military enforcement. Global Witness purpose was to expose the fraudulent efforts f the "legitimate" diamond trade, identifiably the brokers for DeBeers and the shadow traders-in-between.
Although the purpose was to reveal and condemn these policies f marketing "blood diamonds", the publication depicted the struggle only as a moral one for Western business and consumers arguing in favor f not supporting the "violent chaos" f Africa. Emphasis was made on the political struggles, particularly in Angola, where the exertion for representation between political oppositions UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence f Angola) and MPLA continues to subdivide into struggles over diamonds alone. But currently the only political concern f the cultural factions involved is the enormous personal gain to be acquired through control f such abundant and valuable resources, ultimately pointing towards the need for military presence in mined areas. (Sherman 600-615)
The diamond as an archetype f Western value becomes the perfect means f instilling economic chaos through the ease f exploiting other cultural values. There size, convenience, f transport and mining, as well as their fiscal value, can make them the ultimate source f finance for a revolution. This suits as a local example that is continental in its effect. It is arguable that every African knows what a diamond is, and what its worth, not so much to them, but to the non-African, and as such becomes a window f economic, and thus potentially political opportunity.
The linking f Africa with diamonds is much the same image as the African with violence. The "treasure" f the continent is only so to the Western ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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