You are on page 1of 4


Hornby SS10-1 and 10-2 1

Adapted from A. Marson and

(2006, 143 minutes)
The video you are about to watch is realistically violent and contains profanity. According to a review by
J. Berry, “It is an excellent movie. Although it was not filmed in Sierra Leone, it captures the reality of the
country to a remarkable degree. There is a great deal of violence in this movie, but that violence is
organic, realistic, fitting to what happened there. They even manage to convey the fact that the people are
as astonished by this violence as we are; Sierra Leone used to be one of the safest countries in the world.
The movie tells the facts about conflict diamonds quickly and accurately. DiCaprio's performance is
impressive, certainly the best by him I've ever seen: he is totally believable as a white African.” (source: In Alberta, the film was rated 14A. If you would
like to opt out of seeing “Blood Diamond”, please do not hesitate to privately let your teacher
know. You will be sent to the library to complete an alternate assignment once we start Activity Three.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Danny Archer
Djimon Hounsou as Solomon Vandy
Jennifer Connelly as Maddy Bowen
Kagiso Kuypers as Dia Vandy
Arnold Vosloo as Colonel Coetzee
Antony Coleman as Cordell Brown
Benu Mabhena as Jassie Vandy
Anointing Lukola as N’Yanda Vandy
David Harewood as Captain Poison
Basil Wallace as Benjamin Kapanay

Music to listen to…diamond themed songs:

• "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
• “Diamonds Are Forever" by Shirley Bassey
• “Shine On 'Em" by Nas (Available for download from
• “Diamonds From Sierra Leone Remix" by Kanye West

Part One: What are conflict diamonds? (____/5)

• Where do diamonds come from?

• What do diamonds symbolize in our society?

• For the next two minutes, brainstorm what “conflict diamonds” are with a partner.

• What definition can your teacher provide?

M. Hornby SS10-1 and 10-2 2
Adapted from A. Marson and
The movie "Blood Diamond,”… is putting the media spotlight on conflict diamonds and [had]
the diamond industry worried about negative fallout.

Conflict diamonds, sometimes referred to as blood diamonds, are gems that are illegally sold to
fund civil wars and rebel conflicts. Billions of dollars worth of profit has been used to buy arms
for civil wars in African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and
Sierra Leone.

"Blood Diamond," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, is set in Sierra Leone in
the 1990s, when rebels took control and profited from the country's vast diamond mines. The
movie includes graphic images of violence, child soldiers and victims of rebel mutilation.
The war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002, but human rights groups say the problem of diamond
funded conflicts persists in other African countries, such as Liberia and Cote D'Ivoire. Two such
groups, Amnesty International and Global Witness, have partnered with the movie to raise
awareness on the issue. "This is a Trojan horse message, because people will walk out of this
movie and not view diamonds the same way," said Amnesty International's director of Artists for
Amnesty, Bonnie Abaunza.

Defending diamonds
Concern in the diamond industry over a potential backlash from the film has been building for
more than a year. "Can you imagine its impact on the Christmas-buying audience in America if
the message is not carried through that this is something of the past?" Jonathan Oppenheimer, a
director of the world's largest supplier of rough diamonds, De Beers, said at a trade convention in
South Africa last fall. The United States purchases about 65 percent of the world's diamonds, and
60 percent of the world's diamonds originate in Africa. Earlier this year, the industry group the
World Diamond Council (WDC) launched a multi-million dollar public relations campaign in
anticipation of the movie's release. The group has taken out full page ads in major newspapers
and launched a Web site describing strides taken to reduce the impact of conflict diamonds, as
well as the economic benefits of the diamond trade to African countries. The WDC also appealed
to the movie's director, Edward Zwick, asking him to add information to the movie on changes in
the industry, in particular a regulation system called the Kimberley Process. Zwick refused and
has said he welcomes the opportunity for the movie to raise questions among consumers.
"What I wanted to create in their minds is consciousness," Zwick told National Public Radio. "A
purchase of a diamond just has to be an informed purchase."

A problem of the past?

The Kimberley Process, put in place in 2003, requires diamond shipments to be accompanied by
certificates stating they were not mined in countries at war. Before the Kimberley Process, the
diamond industry estimated conflict diamonds made up 4 percent of the global trade, while
nonprofit groups, such as Partnership Canada Africa, estimated the total at around 15 percent.
The industry claims the Kimberley Process has curtailed the trade to less than 1 percent.
While everyone involved agrees the Kimberley Process is a step in the right direction, problems
arise in measuring its success, in part, because of diamond smuggling. A panel of United
Nations experts reported in October that a significant number of diamonds are smuggled each
year from the war-torn country of Cote D'Ivoire into Ghana, where they are certified as
M. Hornby SS10-1 and 10-2 3
Adapted from A. Marson and
Tom Zoellner, a journalist and the author of a book on the diamond industry, says the Kimberley
Process has not really affected how diamonds are smuggled across national boarders. "It is a
really superficial process," he said. The Central African Republic mines can produce only about
half the quantity of diamonds that are listed as originating from the country, Zoellner said in his
book. Imbalances like this indicate holes in the process.

WDC spokesman Carson Glover agrees smuggling is still a problem. "Diamonds are the most
portable commodity in the world, and smuggling is one of the oldest professions in the world,"
Glover said. "[The Kimberley Process] was not intended to stop smuggling."

Consumer response
Jewelry stores are bracing for the film's opening to see whether the power of its political
statement is matched by commercial success.

Other films released this year that made political statements, including "Thank You for
Smoking," which skewered the cigarette industry, and "Fast Food Nation," which painted an
unflattering picture of the fast-food industry, did not perform as well as expected.
-- By Talea Miller, NewsHour Extra
© 2006 MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

Story: Movie Sparks Debate over Diamond Trade, 12/04/06

Reading Comprehension Questions: (_____/10)

1. What is a conflict diamond?

2. What is the movie Blood Diamond about?

3. According to human rights groups, are conflict diamonds still a problem today?

4. What actions did the World Diamond Council take before the movie's release?
M. Hornby SS10-1 and 10-2 4
Adapted from A. Marson and

5. Which country purchases the greatest amount of diamonds and which continent
produces the most?

6. What is the Kimberley Process?

7. Why is it hard to determine how successful the Kimberley Process is?

8. What does the director of Blood Diamond hope the movie will do?