Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blood Diamonds 2: Zimbabwe Boogaloo

Blood Diamonds 2: Zimbabwe Boogaloo

I think I have made my opinions on diamonds already known in previous blogs about the existence of these shiny rocks that women just seem to love. Frankly I don't ever want to support the system that puts them on the market.

This could be a death blow to a relationship. It means that I wont buy any diamond from De Beers or anyone else that has been mined. Hell, I'm fairly certain that in the event of marriage, my future wife's wedding band will more than likely not have a diamond on it.

The whole concept is basically Marx's concept of commodity fetishism in its most perverse form because the commodity actually has no use value other than as an ornament.

I feel that if you buy a real diamond, you're basically handing someone somewhere money to purchase weapons that are going to fight a war and kill innocents. The chances of it being a diamond that did not cause suffering are probably 1 in 10000

So with the news that De Beers got some new competition in their diamond business with Zimbabwe being in da house I thought I would tell you more about the wonderful fucked up world of diamonds.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's president said Tuesday his nation will sell its massive reserves of diamonds despite not receiving authorization from the world's diamond control body.

A defiant President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday told lawmakers diamond sales have "huge potential" to revive the shattered economy. He said Zimbabwe can account for one-fourth of the world's diamond supply.

The Kimberley Process diamond certification scheme has not authorized international sales amid allegations of killings, human rights violations and corruption in the massive diamond fields discovered in eastern Zimbabwe in 2006.

"No one should doubt our resolve to sell our diamonds," Mugabe told lawmakers at the ceremonial opening of the Parliament in Harare.

Criticism by Western nations and human rights groups deadlocked a Kimberly Process meeting in Israel last month that sought approval for the sales after a regional monitor of the control body reported Zimbabwe had met minimum international diamond mining standards.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe's Western adversaries wanted "absurd" conditions put in place to block the diamond sales.

"We have to remain rooted in the reality we are the sole guarantors of our economic emancipation," he said.

Critics of Mugabe say his economic policies have contributed to precipitous economic decline in a decade of political turmoil that included the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms that disrupted the agriculture-based economy.

Mugabe acknowledged Tuesday that key infrastructure -- including power and water utilities, roads and transport services -- had fallen into disrepair and housing programs had come to a standstill over the past decade.

Mining experts estimate that Zimbabwe's diamond fields, sealed off by police and troops in the districts of Marange and Chiadzwa near the eastern city of Mutare, are likely the biggest deposits found in Africa since the Kimberley fields were discovered in neighboring South Africa a century ago.

The mines ministry says it already has about $1.7 billion of diamonds in storage ready to be sold. Zimbabwe's total international debt is estimated at around $5.5 billion.

Consignments of diamonds have been sold illegally. Earlier this year, one shipment was detected in Dubai and police in neighboring Mozambique reported arresting alleged diamond dealers carrying more than $1 million in cash hidden in their car near Zimbabwe's porous eastern border.
Ha! This certainly spells doom. And by no means are these good diamonds. They're all still blood diamonds and this wont revive Zimbabwes economy either.

While diamonds are still going through absurd inflation, it's going to be funny watching Jewellers come up with reasons not to buy Zimbabwe diamond.
"Nonononono, you see Zimbabwe diamonds have imperceptible flaws in them cause by Mugabe's corrosive dictatorial influence, also they're a bit tacky and do you really want to buy her a discount gem?"
I love how the article mentions the diamond control body. Why don't they just use the appropriate English word "Cartel"?

I haven't heard much about Mugabe lately. I wonder if he's still literally hacking the supporters of his opponents to pieces? Instead of some evil white guys killing Africans it'll be an evil black guy. That's all the difference in these diamonds. You up for a trip down memory lane?
June 10, 2008

Robert Mugabe's thugs turn to burning people alive Jan Raath in Harare For a wad of worthless Zimbabwean banknotes President Mugabe’s militias burnt six-year-old Nyasha Mashoko to death.
The target of the Zanu (PF) thugs had been the boy’s father, Brian Mamhova. They came for him on Friday night — three truckloads of them, plus a Mercedes Benz from which alighted three armed men in suits, Mr Mamhova said. The militiamen had been promised Z$25 trillion (£12,500) to kill him, which seems a high price on the head of a district councillor but which is no problem for a Government that sees printing money as the best way out of a crisis.

At 8pm on Friday Mr Mamhova was asleep. His wife, Pamela Pasvani, 21, his son, Nyasha, his younger brother and a nephew were in an adjoining room.

“They [the militiamen] got in the room where I was and they were searching me against the wall,” he said. He managed to break free from the men holding them and slipped past the others in the darkness. He stopped running when he was 100 metres away, and hid behind a bush. “They were running past me,” he said, and he heard them muttering that they were about to lose their bounty.

“They locked the door where my wife was. They smashed the windows and threw petrol inside. Then they lit it,” he said. “Inside the house, my young brother broke the door. I thank God, otherwise they would be burnt, all of them. He took my nephew out of the room. Then he went back into the room and he took my wife, but it was late. She got 80 per cent burnt. My son was burnt to pieces.”
Ahhh, 2008 memories flooding back in.

Getting back to the diamond being the best example of commodity fetishism, De Beers pretty much single-handedly forged this attitude less than a century ago that diamonds should be a symbol of your love to her. Prior to De Beers, there was no tradition involving diamonds and marriage. Just all of a sudden a "Hey all you men, if you don't buy this useless rock for your women, you're poor!" Which spurred women to have second thoughts about the marriage. Because if he's so poor to not afford that rock, he's out the door cause he can't provide for me!

In Japan most marriages didn't even consider diamond before the 1950's, De Beers realizing this, started advertising all over the place that a diamond was really important and symbolizes marriage blah blah blah. Now the majority of people there have diamonds.

And really, what are diamonds good for other than causing strife, murder and rape in underdeveloped countries because corporations needed them to be symbolic to make bigger profits? The world diamond demand is pure fabrication by corporate tale-tellers.

I don't care how pretty they are or how much they look like glass, but aren't! And don't tell me about how surgeons use diamond scalpels because they don't corrode and remain sharper for much longer than steel blades because it's only artificial diamonds that are used for scalpels and dental drills.

There really is no practical application for "natural" diamonds. In fact, diamonds aren't very rare in the grand scheme of things, but then there's De Beers who just loves to say otherwise. They're pretty easy to dig up and they're basically worthless. It's only because of advertising that there is an artificial demand for them.

Your trophy wife wont be able to tell the difference between a good synthetic diamond and the real thing. Unless she's like a chemist or something. Even if you buy synthetic diamonds you're still propping up the idea that diamonds are valuable and luxurious.

But if you're going that route I applaud you. Synthetic diamonds are chemically the same as "real diamonds." In fact they are often better because they have fewer flaws (tiny cracks and stuff on the inside). It used to be you wanted as few flaws as possible when buying a diamond for jewelry. But now diamond sellers are saying that flaws are good because they give the diamond "character" in order to get people to buy "real" diamonds instead of synthetic ones.

I guess you could tell the difference by measuring the ratio of carbon isotopes in a diamond. You would have to be a chemist and have some pretty expensive equipment to be able to do it. When it comes down to it, the chemical differences between isotopes of the same element are practically zero. But again, this is all boring science stuff and your general woman only knows that if you liked it then you should of put a (big diamond) ring on it. oh oh oh, oh oh oh. Oh oh oh Oh Oh!

Even worse, did you know that 20 tons of waste is created per gold ring. I was shocked by this but sure enough it seems to be a legit concern.
Slack: In Ghana a single mine has permanently displaced 10,000 people from their land. Another example is Peru, one of the most important metal exporting countries. The government there is not very effective in regulating the mines. Often, the local residents are completely on their own

SPIEGEL: How much waste is produced to extract enough gold for a wedding ring?

Slack: That produces 20 tons of waste.

SPIEGEL: Is this only loose rock that can be pushed somewhere, or is it poisonous waste?

Slack: The problem is that cyanide treated rock, when exposed to air, will give off sulphuric acids, like those contained in car batteries. This process continues forever and can permanently contaminate the groundwater. Even mines the Romans operated in what is today France still exude these substances.

Fuck. Well it's settled. Death is certain.

Note: Taxi goes around them cause someone just got "in the city" road head. Hi-5, bro!

I've gotten into this argument with plenty of people who look down on the idea of a cubic zirconium and that it's not a "real" diamond. They've eaten into the idea that real diamonds are flawed, much like the person who is receiving it.. But they're still just as beautiful and unique BECAUSE they are flawed. De Beers has possibly the easiest audience to convince. Bad is good and good is bad. No wife contests this. NONE!

I guess if you want to go the less human suffering method, you can find your own. There's a public diamond mine in a state park in Arkansas. And the best part of that is you could say the people of Arkansas own the means of diamond production. Though I'm not sure if they'd appreciate the thought of socialism though.

"Real" diamonds serve no purpose and on top of that they have a laboratory grown alternative with no suffering. Bringing it up to people you know who are getting married, even in the most tactful manner is like criticizing someone's religion. It's simply not a subject to be discussed. But on the flip side, when I say I had some really good Foie gras or Veal sausage and the topic of cruel suffering never ends.

Bu-bu-but I got a Kimberly certificate so I know my diamonds are not conflict diamonds! I can't remember where I saw it, but there was a documentary that mentioned how the Kimberly process is a joke since all a conflict diamond seller has to do is find some mine operation across the border and dump them at a low price. Besides that, try asking a diamond dealer for their Kimberly certificates. Good luck getting them. Most can't provide them.

I'm pretty sure I bring this up every time I talk about diamonds, but this is an excellent read and a good note to end this on. Have you ever tried to sell a diamond? You literally can't sell a diamond back to any dealers. So the perceived notion that this is some investment or worth something should be laughed at. Not unless you find someone on craigslist to buy it from you.


Shinxy said...

I resent your remark about women knowing nothing of this whole blood diamond debarckle. I think you have to have lived under a rock not to know about it. However, most PEOPLE (not just women) are too caught up in tradition and 'what you should do' to even think about it at the time. Of COURSE you're getting a diamond ring; that's just what is done and expected.

My engagement ring's stone (getting it in two weeks, woot!) is a white opal. It still has the whole symbol of purity and love thing, but none of the guilt of a diamond. I don't even really like diamonds, they're boring. But opals? I could never get bored looking at an opal.

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