Blood Diamond (film)
Blood Diamond is a 2006 film that follows a rare pink diamond found in Sierra Leone, and the effect it has on the man who finds it, a smuggler who wants it, and an American journalist trying to find and expose the truth about these "blood diamonds".
- Directed by Edward Zwick. Written by Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Charles Leavitt and C. Gaby Mitchell (story).
- You Americans, you Americans love to talk about you feelings.
- Look, I don't give a f*** about you! That diamond could be priceless! We split it and you get your family, yes or no. Yes or no!
- The only reason you're still alive is because you haven't told anyone where it is.
- That diamond is my ticket out of this... godforsaken continent.
- Sometimes I wonder: Will God ever forgive us for what we've done to each other? Then I look around and I realize... God left this place a long time ago.
- [to Maddy] Well, off the record, I like to get kissed before I get fucked.
- [to Maddy] "fly off' huh?"
- When's the last time the world wasn't falling apart?
- Who do you think buys the stones I bring out? dreamy American girls who want a story book wedding and a big shiny rock just like the ones they see in the advertisements in your politically correct magazines. So, please, don't come here and make judgements on me, alright. I provide a service, the world wants what we have, and they want it cheap. We're in business together you and me. Get over yourself, darling.
- We thought we were fighting communism, but in the end it was all about who gets what, you know? Ivory, Oil, Gold... Diamonds. So one day I decided "Fuck it," ya know? "I'm gonna get mine."
- You know I once had this buddy named Maboko. We used to hunt bushmeat together as kids. Now baboons, baboons they were the hardest to catch. We'd always find them by the smell of their shit and that's how we learned to track your black terrorists in Angola: by the smell of your shit. It's not the same as a baboon's but after you skin it the flesh of a baboon isn't all that different than a man's you know. I tell you, I can track anything. Risk my life like that again and I'll peel you face back off your head.
- [As Solomon deserts Archer after saying Archer is not the master] Oh that is exactly what I am and you'd better remember it Kaffir! [Solomon knocks him down]
- Sometimes I wonder... will God ever forgive us for what we've done to eachother...? Then I look around and I realise... God left this place a long time ago.
- [last words] That's alright. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.
Staring into the eyes of a photographed teenager who lost both hands to rebel’s machetes at the Waterloo Camp in Sierra Leone I felt a surge of mixed emotions: pain, compassion, anger, discontent and the need for a more effective campaign against “conflict diamonds.”
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.”
According to a report by Partnership Africa Canada (P.A.C.), “upwards of 50,000 [have been] killed, half the population displaced, and more than two-thirds of its already severely limited infrastructure destroyed.” Meanwhile, the underground trade of illicit diamonds is booming. Conflict diamonds are valued “between 4 percent and 15 percent of the world total” and generate annual trade revenues of $7.5 billion.
Sierra Leone’s war over conflict diamonds began in March 1991 when “a few hundred men crossed over the Liberian border and attacked towns in eastern and southern Sierra Leone.” Early in 1992, the Revolutionary United Front (R.U.F.), a ruthless rebel group seized Kono, the diamond mining capital of Sierra Leone. In an effort to stabilize the region and restore democratic civilian rule, the National Provisional Ruling Council (N.P.R.C.) became engaged in a war with R.U.F. rebels.
The N.P.R.C. initiated “Operation Genesis” to drive out R.U.F. rebels, but was unsuccessful. The rebels, in turn, launched a vicious attack on Sierra Leoneans during the 1996 elections. To intimidate potential voters and to maintain control of the diamond mines, the rebels chopped off the hands and feet of adults, teens, children and even infants. In spite of these brutal attacks, the R.U.F. was invited to participate in the elections. But the rebels once again reverted to their depraved tactics, amputating civilians’ hands and feet.
In November 1996, the newly elected president, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah signed a peace agreement in Abidjan, which gave the R.U.F. an opportunity to become a legitimate political party. Instead, R.U.F. rebels colluded with insurgents of the Sierra Leonean army and formed the Armed Forces Ruling Council (A.F.R.C.), which ousted Kabbah. During this time, there was no international intervention on behalf of Sierra Leoneans.
Finally, in February 1998 Nigerian-led forces of the Military Observer Group of the Economic Community of West African States (E.C.O.M.O.G.) removed A.F.R.C. rebels from Freetown and reinstated Kabbah. But Nigerian forces could not contain R.U.F. rebels. A re-charged R.U.F. re-emerged in January 1999 “killing an estimated 6,000 civilians and mutilating many more.”
Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor, was the formidable force behind R.U.F. rebels. Taylor, who later became President of Liberia, not only participated in the illicit diamond trade, he “acted as mentor, trainer, banker and weapons supplier” for the R.U.F. Charles Taylor used R.U.F. rebels to integrate a substantial amount of illicit diamonds (valued in the millions) into the global trade, and then used profits to purchase weapons, which reinforced the R.U.F.’s military strength.
By July 1999, the violence had escalated. The government of Sierra Leone was forced to sign another peace agreement in Lomé, Togo, which “legitimized the R.U.F. and brought it into the government with several cabinet positions.” The R.U.F., however, was not interested in rebuilding Sierra Leone only regaining control of the diamonds mines of Kono District and Tongo Field. As a result, thousands of Sierra Leoneans were killed and mutilated mainly because there was no large scale, international intervention in the early stages of the war.
The United Nations did not intervene in Sierra Leone until June 2001 — 10 years after the war began. And, compared to the murderous rampage of R.U.F. rebels, U.N. sanctions appeared lenient: “a ban on Liberian diamond sales, and a ban on travel by Liberian officials, including its president, and tougher weapons sanctions.” It was practically impossible for the United Nations to enforce these sanctions since an official report “showed conclusively that there was virtually no oversight of the international movement of diamonds.” Similarly, a U.N. expert panel “reported that the then ‘interim’ leader of the R.U.F., Issa Sesay, [violated U.N. sanctions and] flew to Abidjan late in 2001 with 8,000 carats of diamonds which he sold to two dealers of undisclosed identity.”
The United Nations did not seriously intervene in Sierra Leone’s war until January 2002 when it sent the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (Unamsil), a 17,000-man peacekeeping force to supervise disarmament and “to uphold the provisions of the Lomé agreement.” Immediately following U.N. intervention, the war gained international attention after Unamsil peacekeepers were prohibited from conducting an investigation of diamond areas controlled by the R.U.F.
In March 2003, the U.N. Special Court in Sierra Leone “indicted several of those involved in the civil war in Sierra Leone for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of international humanitarian law.” But the fate of those indicted is uncertain. The U.N. Court cannot simply “round up” the usual suspects and think that is enough.
The most worrying aspect of the war in Sierra Leone is the international community’s belated response. In three separate incidents — in Rwanda, Sudan and Sierra Leone — the international community has turned a blind eye while génocidaires, the janjaweed and R.U.F. rebels wreaked havoc on their civilian populations.
Ikechi Mgbeoji’s book, Collective Insecurity examines the hidden causes of West Africa’s civil wars and addresses an important question: “Why has the U.N. system not worked to protect people and to enhance their welfare, as intended, in Africa and elsewhere?” In his book, Mgbeoji proposes, “the solution to African political instability lies in a structural rearrangement of the African polity for the purpose of legitimate governance of African peoples.”
Considering the U.N.’s response to the war in Sierra Leone, it has a long way to go in its responsibility to ensure “legitimate governance under international law.” But U.N. efforts alone won’t stop the senseless killing in Sierra Leone over illicit diamonds. Kayne West’s song and video about “blood diamonds” makes us take an honest look at ourselves and ask: Is my fascination with diamonds contributing to the violence in Sierra Leone?
- Archer: Who do you think got you out of jail, huh!? That makes us partners!
- Solomon: I am NOT your partner!
- Maddy: You're using him.
- Danny Archer: I am using him and you are using me and this is how it works, isn't it?
- Archer: Where is Commander Zero?
- Captain: I am Captain Rambo.
- Archer: Right, Right. I've seen your films, huh.
- [This scene is spoken in Krio, Sierra Leoneian creole]
- Commander Zero:Mistah Achah, Com' heah. You get som'ting for me.
- Archer: Den you sef get som'ting for me, ah?
- Commander Zero: You bring da plane com' firs'.
- Archer: Are you craz'? You ge' fo' pay me firs' for dem.
- [Commander Zero walks over to Archer and hands him a small velvet bag. Archer opens it and examines the contents]
- Archer: Dis, no fine, ah? Dis no fine.
- Commander Zero: Dis no more you get, Poo'mui! [white boy]
- Archer: Den you'n yo' boys den can use ona all rotten AK dem, against dem gov'ment troop, and den new weapons dem, ah?
- Commander Zero: Maybe we just kill you and take away what you bring back.
- Archer: Then you get one more dede body, instead of aeroplane way-full wit' grenade launchahs! Som'ting I'm gon' go to dem gov'ment! Dem gov'ment, at least dem gon' pay me, ah?
- Commander Zero: Wait, wait, my friend. Here is da ting you want. (Takes out a coffee can full of raw diamonds and pours them into Archer's hand) So many, I not know what do wit' dem all. Hey Achah! Next time, you bring satellite TV, eh? I want see Baywatch!
- Archer: Ja ja.
- [On the news that the rebels are approaching the city]
- Archer: Maybe time to get your family out, huh?
- A'med: And go where? Just fire up the chopper and fly away like you people? This my country, man. We here long 'fore you came; Long after you gone.
- Solomon: You are how old?
- Archer: Me? I'm 31.
- Solomon: And you have no wife?
- Archer: No.
- Solomon: ...no children?
- Archer: No.
- Solomon: ...and no home?
- Archer: No.
- Solomon: But you have money, yes?
- Archer: Ja...some.
- Solomon: ...but not enough?
- Archer: No
- Solomon: If you get this diamond, you will have enough money, yes?
- Archer: Yes.
- Solomon: ...then you will get the wife and children.
- Archer: Probably not, no.
- [Solomon chuckles]
- Archer: What?
- Solomon: ...I'm confused.
- Archer: Yeah? ...Makes two of us my brü.
- Archer: Ah Christ...I've gotta quit smoking, huh?
- Solomon: Why don't you?
- Archer: I tell you what, Solomon. You find me this diamond, I'll quit right then and there, huh! (hah)
- Archer: Cordell... howzit shona?
- Cordell: Long time, pal.
- Archer: How's Alice?
- Cordell: Ah, she's well, thanks.
- Archer: Tim must be in school, right?
- Cordell: Ah, big kids, big problems ya know?
- Archer: Ja ja.
- Cordell: I heard you got into a spot of trouble in the bush, huh?
- Archer: Ah... well, you know the bush, right brü?
- [Cordell chuckles]
- Archer: Company doing well?
- Cordell: Can't complain...11 wars in the continent, we're keeping busy.
- Archer: So, what, you here on holiday, huh?
- Archer: ...How's the colonel?
- Cordell: He sends his regards.
- Archer: Good, good... score us a loose, huh?
- Cordell: Smoking'll kill you, brü.
- Archer: Ah... only if I live, right?
- [Archer punches him in the gut]
- Archer: ...Thats for breaking my T.V. brü. Tell the colonel he'll get his money. I'll come see him soon.
- Col. Coatzee: A deal went bad and you owe me money. I'll take a stone as payment.
- Archer: D'you think if I found a stone like that, I'd still be on this continent? [Archer laughs.] Come on!
- Col. Coatzee: [Coatzee smiles.] Ach, Danny...give me your hand. [Archer extends his hand and Coatzee takes a fistful of red earth, lets it fall onto Archer's palm.] This red earth, it's in our skin. The Shona say the colour comes from all the blood that's being spilled fighting over the land. This is home. You'll never leave Africa.
- Archer: If you say so, sir.
- [The scene depicts an R.U.F. labour mining camp where captive villagers are forced to mine for diamonds.]
- Captain Poison: The Freetown government and their white masters have raped your land to feed their greed! R.U.F. have freed you!
- [Armed guards are shown, supervising the captives.]
- Captain Poison: No more slave and master here! R.U.F. is fighting for the people! R.U.F. is FIGHTING for Sierra Leone!
- [One of the workers finds a diamond and hides it in his mouth, apparently successfully.]
- Captain Poison: Any bastard think he would joke with me diamond, I go cut he throat! STOP!
- [Captain Poison approaches the worker.]]
- Captain Poison: Give it to me!
- [The worker takes the diamond out of his mouth and hands it to Poison, who then shoots him.]
- Maddy: You lost both your parents didn't you?
- Archer: That's a polite way of putting it, ja. Mom was raped and shot and... Dad was decapitated and hung from a hook in the barn. I was 9. Boo hoo, right?
- Cordell: Smoking'll kill you brü..
- Archer: Only if I live, huh?
- Archer: T.I.A., right M'ed?
- M'ed: T.I.A.
- Maddy: (to Archer) What's T.I.A.?
- Archer: This Is Africa, huh?
- (After the colonel been shot on his chest)
- Colonel: T.I.A., huh, Danny?
- Archer: T.I.A.
- (Archer shoots the colonel as the colonel draws his gun again)
- [Archer is dying from being shot to the side]
- Archer: Take it.
- Solomon: Mr. Archer...
- Archer: Take it! Take it!
- Solomon: I thought you'd steal it from me?
- Archer: Ja, it occured to me, huh?
- [Archer laughs]
- Archer: Listen, this is Maddy's card, huh. You call her when you get to Conakry, alright? [giving Solomon his gun] And don't trust that pilot for a second. You point this at his head if he fucks around, alright?
- Solomon: I can carry you.
- Archer: You take your boy home, huh. You take him home.
- [As Archer is dying of a bullet wound]
- Soldier: Archer, you're a dead man!
- Archer: Ja ja.
- Archer: You publish one word of this story before I give them the stone and I'm dead, huh?
- Maddy: What if you don't come out with the diamond?
- Archer: Then write whatever the hell you want, I'm already dead.
- Maddy: Hello, Maddy Bowen?
- Archer: Thought I'd never call, huh?
- Maddy: And I'm so glad you did. Um, when am I gonna see you?
- Archer: Maddy, I want you to do me one more favor, huh? I want you to go meet Solomon. In Conakry.
- Maddy: In Guinea. Why do you want me to go to Guinea?
- Archer: We found his son, but he's gonna need some help. You understand? Maddy?
- Maddy: You're hurt. Are you hurt?
- Archer: Ja, well, I've got a little problem here.
- Maddy: OK, you, um, you tell me where you are. Archer?
- Archer: I'm looking at an incredible view right now. I wish you were here, Maddy.
- Maddy: OK, then I'm coming to be with you. You just tell me where you are.
- Archer: I don't think so.
- Maddy: Are you still in Kono? Because I can get someone there to help you.
- Archer: Maddy, you find someplace safe for the boy, alright? And keep him out of sight. And get Solomon to London. He's bringing something with him, and he's gonna need your help.
- Maddy: Why aren't you bringing it yourself?
- Archer: I'm saying it's a real story now, and you can write the hell out of it. I'm really happy I met you, you know that?
- Maddy: Yeah, I'm, um, I'm really happy I met you, too. And I wish I could be there with you.
- Archer: That's alright. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.
[Archer hangs up, notices his blood mixing into the red earth, and dies as the sun sets]