"The government is slowly reestablishing its authority after the 1991 to 2002 civil war that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one-third of the population).
The last UN peacekeepers withdrew in December 2005, leaving full responsibility for security with domestic forces, but a new civilian UN office remains to support the government.
Mounting tensions related to planned 2007 elections, deteriorating political and economic conditions in Guinea, and the tenuous security situation in neighboring Liberia may present challenges to continuing progress in Sierra Leone's stability. "
"Portuguese voyagers gave the name Serra Lyoa (Lion Mountains), later changed to Sierra Leone by the British. From the 15th century onward, European traders congregated near the site of present-day Freetown, under the protection of African rulers, who welcomed them for the commercial opportunities they provided, exchanging imported manufactured goods for ivory and slaves to be employed across the Atlantic.
In 1807, Great Britain outlawed the trade of enslaved Africans, and in early 1808 the British government took over Freetown from the financially troubled company, using it as a naval base for fighting the traffic in slaves. The British government, which had profited most from the transatlantic trade in captured Africans, now undertook a key role in the suppression of the trade.
Between 1808 and 1864 approximately 50,000 liberated Africans settled at Freetown. Protestant missionaries were active there, and in 1827 they founded Fourah Bay College, where Sierra Leoneans were educated and became active as missionaries, traders, and civil servants along the Sierra Leone coast and on Sherbro Island as well as in other regions in West Africa, especially among the Yoruba people."
*saw this late last night (Saturday, July 7th of 2007) and was very inspired and disturbed (e.g. greed; diamonds sold to folks not knowing the rippling effects-particulary engagement gifts prior to a marriage in Western cultures!)
Related Sites: Blood Diamon Action, from Global Amnesty International
*has a list of what companies sell "conflict-free" diamonds "Conflict diamonds, also known as blood diamonds, are diamonds that are used by rebel groups to fuel conflict and civil wars. They have funded brutal conflicts in Africa that have resulted in the death and displacement of millions of people. Diamonds have also been used by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda to finance their activities and for money-laundering purposes.
Only a few African economies have actually benefited from diamonds, while Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sierra Leone are still recovering from widespread devastation resulting from wars fuelled by diamonds. Diamonds are being smuggled out of the rebel-held north of Cote d'Ivoire and out of eastern DRC, and continue to be used for money laundering, tax evasion and organized crime."-from Global Witness Conflict Diamonds "On 1 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, unanimously, a resolution on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict, breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict, as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts (A/RES/55/56). In taking up this agenda item, the General Assembly recognized that conflict diamonds are a crucial factor in prolonging brutal wars in parts of Africa, and underscored that legitimate diamonds contribute to prosperity and development elsewhere on the continent. In Angola and Sierra Leone, conflict diamonds continue to fund the rebel groups, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), both of which are acting in contravention of the international community's objectives of restoring peace in the two countries." Stop Blood Diamonds "
We can stop this by purchasing legitimate diamonds. Botswana used to be a poor farm country but today its government works hand in hand with the Diamond industry to give Botswana a living standard 7 times higher than its neighbors." Word Press "Recently, rapper Kanye West raised the issue of conflict “blood” diamonds in his song “Diamonds” (featuring Jay-Z). Conflict diamonds — diamonds mined and traded by rebel groups — have been the source of murder and mutilation in the small, west-African country of Sierra Leone. In the song, West voices his own inner conflict with diamonds:
See, a part of me say keep shinin’
How? When I know what a “Blood Diamond” is …
In his video, West takes his message even further. The video takes viewers into dimly lit diamond mines, where children are forced to mine for “small bits of carbon that have no intrinsic value in themselves, and no value whatsoever to the average Sierra Leonean beyond their attraction to foreigners.”
Reviews: IMDB "Remember how Hotel Rwanda had the idea of "look how terrible things are in Africa, and you're doing nothing to stop it?" Blood Diamond is pretty much the same guilt trip repackaged, except it hits closer to home because the idea isn't that we simply do nothing to stop the blood shed, but we actually support it. If you want to know the how/why, you'll have to see it."
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