Every member of the diamond and jewelry industry must see this film. It is as strong and violent as Africa. It has the potential to activate us to do good.
The Blood Diamond movie is a clear signal to the diamond industry that we must raise our ethical awareness and moral consciousness. The real issue is not the quality of the movie, its impact on the mindset and subconscious of diamond consumers, or our diamond sales. It is time for us to wake up and question what kind of people we are. Do we give damn about the diggers in Africa or are we only concerned about ourselves, our sales, and our profits?
The real issue is not us. It is the diggers of Africa and the people of Sierra Leone. The war is over but the extreme poverty and suffering continues. We must ask ourselves - is there anything we can do to help these people?
We must help. Not because we are guilty of anything…And not because opportunist NGO’s generate publicity. The reason we must relate to the people of Sierra Leone is because we in the diamond and jewelry industry are decent human beings. Because the diggers in Sierra Leone are as much a part of our industry as we are. Because the diamond dream that we all sell does not only belong to our customers and us. The diamond dream also belongs to the people of Africa.
We must wake up to the fact that the poorest people of Africa, the artisanal diggers, are a part of our diamond family -- and that we must share our wealth with them. We must learn to care about other because it is the right thing to do.
I will be writing more in the days ahead and calling on the diamond industry to take on a much more aggressive and proactive role. I will also be taking action.
The Rapaport Group is establishing a non-profit fund for the education of the children of artisanal diamond diggers in Sierra Leone. Rapaport will be donating $100,000 to kick off this program. We have asked and hope that others will work with us so that we may do something powerfully good for the people of Sierra Leone. We are also establishing a non-profit organization -- The Fair Trade Diamond and Jewelry Association -- that will work to ensure fair compensation and beneficiation to the poorest members of our industry.