Blood Diamond Essay

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Overview From 1991–2002, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) waged an insurrection that ravaged the tiny West African nation of Sierra Leone. The conflict created over 2 million refugees and completely destroyed much of the country's infrastructure. Initially, the RUF appeared to be fighting for the country's rural poor, but it quickly lost sight of its founding goals and began a brutal war of terror against ordinary Sierra Leoneans. Villages were burned, women raped, and children gunned down. Many of those who were captured had their hands and feet hacked off by machetes (there were an estimated 100,000 victims of mutilation), and others were forced to work as slaves in the country's diamond mines. Diamonds were critical for the survival of the RUF, which traded them for weapons. The bulk of the mined diamonds were smuggled out of the country through neighboring Liberia, where warlord and later president, Charles Taylor, supported the rebels. These diamonds—blood diamonds, or conflict diamonds, as diamonds mined in war zones and used to fund insurgencies are now called—eventually found their way into markets around the world. Against this historical backdrop, Blood Diamond, set in Sierra Leone in 1999, tells the story of the intersecting lives of Danny Archer, an Anglo ex-mercenary from Zimbabwe, Solomon Vandy, a fisherman from Sierra Leone, and Maddy Bowen, a American reporter. The film begins with an RUF raid of Solomon's village. Several of the rebel fighters firing AK-47's into the crowd of fleeing villagers are children. The RUF was notorious for using child soldiers, kidnapped from their families and trained as killers. The RUF used an estimated 10,000 child soldiers to wage its violent war. Solomon is captured and forced to work in an RUF diamond mine. Soon after, his elementary-school-aged son is also captured. Later he is shown at an RUF camp,

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