Blood On The Stone

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Overview

Africa's diamond wars took four million lives. They destroyed the lives of millions more and they crippled the economies of Angola, the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The biggest UN peacekeeping forces in the world-in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Congo and Côte d'Ivoire―are the legacy of 'conflict' or 'blood diamonds'.

'Blood on the Stone' tells the story of how diamonds came to be so dangerous. It describes the history of the great diamond cartel and how it gradually lost control of the precious mineral, as country after country descended into anarchy and wars fuelled by diamonds. The book describes the diamond pipeline, from war-torn Africa to the glittering showrooms of Paris, London and New York. It describes the campaign that began in 1999 and which eventually forced the industry and more than 50 governments to create a global certification system known as the Kimberley Process, aimed at wringing blood diamonds out of the retail trade. This gripping account concludes with a sobering assessment of the certification system, which soon became hostage to political chicanery, mismanagement and vested interests. Too important to fail, the Kimberley Process has been hailed as a regulatory model for Africa's extractive minerals. Behind the scenes, however, it runs the risk of becoming an ineffectual talk shop, standing aside as criminals re-infest the diamond world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Smillie is one of the most well-known experts and advocates on blood diamonds. […] ‘Blood on the Stone’ marks another contribution to a growing body of literature on natural resource extraction purchases.' —Lee Berthiaume, ‘Embassy’ magazine book review

'Smillie’s skill is the ability to write a scholarly record of the circumstances that created conflict diamonds while also providing an entertaining, fast-paced read full of intrigue. ‘Blood on the Stone’ will be welcomed by anyone interested in Africa, corporate social responsibility, and geopolitics.' —‘Gems & Gemology’ Winter 2010 Book Reviews

'Timely and of interest.' —‘International Affairs’ January 2011 Book Reviews

‘The book’s strengths are threefold. The first is that it explains the murky trade in rough diamonds in crisp, compelling prose. […] The second strength is that Smillie’s writing on Sierra Leone is excellent. It is one of the best summaries of that country’s civil war and how diamonds bankrolled the RUF. […] Third is that he offers memorable observations on the difficulties in launching the Kimberley Process.’ –‘No One’s Best Friend: A Canadian expert examines the devastation diamonds have wrought in four African countries’, book review by Blake Lambert in the ‘Literary Review of Canada’

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780857289636
  • Publisher: Wimbledon Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/15/2010
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Smillie has lived and worked in Africa and Asia. He taught high school in Koidu, the centre of Sierra Leone’s diamond area, in the late 1960s. He was a founder of the Canadian development organization, Inter Pares, and was Executive Director of CUSO, then Canada’s largest NGO. He has worked as a development consultant for many years and is the author of several books on development themes, including ‘The Charity of Nations: Humanitarian Action in a Calculating World’ (with Larry Minear, 2004) and ‘Freedom from Want’ (2009).

During 2000 he served on a UN Security Council Panel investigating the links between illicit weapons and the diamond trade in Sierra Leone. Until July 2009 he served as Research Coordinator on Partnership Africa Canada’s ‘Diamonds and Human Security Project’ and he currently chairs the Board of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI). He has written extensively on diamonds, including an entry for the ‘Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Modern World’  and a chapter in the Praeger ‘Encyclopaedia on Globalization and Human Security’ . In 2008 he was the first witness at the war crime trial of Charles Taylor in The Hague. He was a leading NGO participant in the Kimberley Process from its inception until he resigned in 2009. Ian Smillie was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003. 

Ian Smillie has lived and worked in Africa and Asia as a teacher, consultant, investigator and writer. For the past ten years his career has focused on blood diamonds, the wars they fuelled and a scheme designed to stop them. This has taken him from the jungles of West Africa to the backstreets of Antwerp and a war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where he was the first witness in the trial of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Smillie was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.

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Table of Contents

Glossary; Preface; Prologue; 1. Of Judgement and Cunning Work: Dirty Diamonds; 2. The River of Big Returns: Geology and History; 3. De Beers: The Delicate Equipoise; 4. Strange Plumbing: The Diamond Pipeline; 5. Angola: Another Distracting Sideshow; 6. Liberia and the Love of Liberty; 7. Sierra Leone: Diamonds in the RUF; 8. President Mobutu’s Ghost; 9. Enter al Qaeda; 10. Boiling Frogs: Companies in Hot Water; 11. Ice Storm: The NGO Campaign; 12. Kimberley: A Hope In Hell; 13. Endgames; Epilogue; Bibliography

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