Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bloody diamond

The contrast is unbelievable. It makes me gasp.

A stone of such beauty, sharpness and elegance. Yet the hardest stone on the planet goes through a hard time as it makes it way across the world from the Sierra Leone to your nearest D'damas outlet. Hold on to your purse-strings, ladies and gentlemen, the diamond you're buying could well be a conflict diamond.

Lets get a few facts straight.

What is a conflict diamond?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments. They are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments.

How can a conflict diamond be distinguished from a legitimate diamond?
A well-structured 'Certificate of Origin' regime can be an effective way of ensuring that only legitimate diamonds -- that is, those from government-controlled areas -- reach market. You must insist on this certificate when you buy a diamond.

All's not well in Africa. It never was. And perhaps it never will be. Unless of course, the media takes a greater stand in issues like this.

It is with a sense of desperation that Danny Catcher says in the film, Blood Diamond, "The truth is that God left this place a long time ago." And when Maddy, the journalist looking across a sprawling refugee camp, perhaps the largest in the film, says: "They'll show this report maybe on CNN, between the Sports and the Weather."

Blood Diamond brings into light the wild African side that remains aloof from the media. Yes, we've known Africa is wild for its animals, but this is Sierra Leone - terror struck, thanks to the Revolutionary United Front, which is using the diamond smuggling business to fund their rebellion against the existing government imposed by the Security Council.

And there's a motley of middlemen, mercenaries out there trying to grasp a pie in this diamond business. The text that appears at the beginning of the film is chilling.

"Most of the diamond miners in Sierra Leone have never seen a diamond."

It is here, that Edward Zwick's racy narrative wins as a film, even though it is never pop-corn entertainment. In fact, with all the bloodshed and bodies falling off like a pack-of cards, the pop-corn is a strict no-no. It's an adventure, with a deeper messag, without the sermonising.

A search for a blood diamond and a search by a father for his son. The melange of realistic cinema and edge-of-the seat thrills is what makes Blood Diamond so solid. And the impact, by the end of the film is perhaps responsible for the furore expected at the Oscar awards. Leonardo Di Caprio is of course deservingly nominated for the role Best Actor. But will Hollywood dress up their necks and fingers in the world's most controversial stone?

Keep your fingers crossed. And yes, have a look at that ring finger of yours, because the ring could well have a bloody diamond on it.

1 comment:

Binodan said...

Hmmmmmmmm 'Bloody well written'
I take the audacity to add a few thoughts on Leonardo di Caprio also, who according to me has seasoned himself better than 'Titanic' days. What amazes me of his performance is his unique ability to immerse himself into the character and live it for that three odd hours of screen space. Obviously Stanslivsky would have been proud of this.
I feel Leo's journey begins not from 'Titanic' (Thank God for that and for the fact that he did not succumb to a choco boy actor frame), but from 'Catch me if you Can'. Apart from the fact about Scorsese and Hanks, leo managed to draw apathy from the audience for the character he was playing. Ofcourse he did manage the same also in two earlier flicks, "The man with the Iron Mask" and "the Beach" but owing to the lack of a Scorsese effect, Leo was narrowed down to a commercial performer(something I had reserved exclusively for Sharukh Khan). However from CMIYC, Leo revealed that not only can he effuse long drawn sighs from his female fans but also deep throated applause from the male critics. So much for the "Aviator' who "Departed" to redeem the world of "Blood Diamonds"