Tag Archives: Sierra Leone

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend??

Tiffany Eyes Further Diamond Mine Funding is an article written by Barney Jopson, William MacNamara, and Katrina Manson of  The Financial Times on September 23, 2011.


Forgive me for the citation, but according to Wikipedia, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend is a song introduced by Carol Channing in the original Broadway production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949).” The conceptual problems in that idea is something to be tacked by another blog. But I digress to the original topic. It is now 2011 and the old adage of diamonds being of utmost importance. The sad part is diamonds have been the worst enemies of many in other countries.

As the broadway play was going on in the United states in 1949,  the Geneva Conventions outlawed the recruitment and use of children under 15 years of age in hostilities. There were many war crimes that were a result of greed and intolerance in general.  In Unicef‘s Truth and Reconciliation report for the children of Sierra Leone it stated that ” The Sierra Leone diamond mines where well-known because the so-called ‘blood diamonds’ helped pay for the machinery of the war. It is another symptom of the insanity of war that we children of Sierra Leone were forced to labour in the diamond mines and retrieve these terrible gems that would become the source of our suffering”. I think Ola Olsson author of “Diamonds Are a Rebel’s Best Friend” said it best:

Although policy-makers in developed countries have become increasingly aware of the problem, the potentially destabilizing effects of highly valuable minerals in some of the world’s poorest countries have so far not received the attention that they deserve

This is why a transaction like one of the most popular diamond company investing more money in a country who has had trouble with corrupt government officials and company CEOs should be taken very seriously. This transaction must be scrutinized and the funds watched very carefully. People need to be held accountable for their actions especially when they are connected to such atrocities like child labor and missing limbs all in the name of capital and greed.



The United Nations considers Sierra Leone the world’s least developed state. In the ten-year civil war that started in 1991, machete-wielding, drug-taking child soldiers were its specialty. Frankly, there is no way of linking that to these pretty pictures, except they all occurred within the same borders.

These were shot by 29-year-old Katrina Manson, the first person ever to write a guide book on the country. When we saw these yesterday, our shallow fashion reflex was all “Wow, hmmm, fresh, the sort of thing that Paris Vogue would do but cheaper.” The outfits were designed by 25-year-old Adama Kai, whose Aschobi Designs label is the first Western-style imprint to set up in the country. Kai was born in New Jersey, moved to Sierra Leone at four, then later trained in New York and Paris. But she has now moved back to Sierra Leone and declared in a recent interview: “In the same way that Ralph Lauren stands for America, Chanel for France, and Versace for Italy, I want Aschobi to stand for African fashion.”

Article Source: Vice Magazine
Authors: DARYOUSH HAJ-NAJAFI (photos Katrina Manson)