Marriages are such happy occasions.
Because two souls decide to spend the rest of their lives together. Because two families merge into one.
There are other wonderful things too.
Great food. New clothes. Jewelry – Gold. Platinum. Diamonds. Together, they bring in a sublime sense of richness and blessing. They’re signs of auspiciousness.
Everything is as sweet as it can be… till the moment we care to enquire where these beautiful things come from.
Diamonds, for instance.
Sierra Leone is – was – a country in West Africa with a massive diamond reserve.
De Beers, an internationally renowned jewellery house from London – specializing in exploration, mining, retail and trading of diamonds – was one of the first business outfits to chase down Sierra Leone’s diamond reserves.
Should’ve spelt prosperity for everyone concerned. For the government. For the economy. For the citizens.
Just that it didn’t.
The same diamond – which is the source of delight for so many unsuspecting souls around the world – had a dark side to it.
Nicknamed the conflict diamond, it helped fund the civil wars between the government and the rebel groups that were sore with the government’s policies.
While the government used the revenues from the country’s oil reserves to combat these groups, the rebels turned to diamonds, illegally trading them for armoury they badly needed to fight the government.
In the process, the common people experienced the bloody side of the diamond. Which is why it’s also nicknamed blood diamond.
It killed their lives, it killed their families and it killed their very livelihood… all because the rebel groups plundered their lands for the treasure troves of diamonds that lay beneath their feet.
Sadly, a vast majority of customers around the world weren’t aware of this part of the story.
Until Edward Zwick and Charles Leavit decided they would make a movie set against this backdrop.
And, Blood Diamond happened in 2006.
An absolutely authentically-made film that feels so much like one of those stark documentaries but packed with a terrific entertainment quotient, courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and the rest of the cast.
The movie triggered such mass awareness of and uproar against the atrocities committed by the diamond industry against the innocent and gullible citizens that people spearheaded a massive campaign for conflict-free diamonds.
A campaign that underlined the fact the someone’s pleasure doesn’t have come out of someone else’s pain.