Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blood Diamonds: NYTimes

"Most days, diggers like Charles Kabia, a 25-year-old grade-school dropout who has been digging since the rebels forced him to mine as a teenager, come up empty — he has not found a stone in two months. That last diamond, a half-carat stone, went for about $65, which he split with his three partners.
“From all my years of mining I don’t even have one bicycle,” said Mr. Kabia, his hands trembling. “I really get nothing out of it.”
The struggle to reform Sierra Leone’s troubled mining industry is emblematic of many of the difficulties faced by this small, impoverished nation as it tries to heal.
Sierra Leone is at peace, its economy is growing and in July it will hold a presidential election that will turn a fresh page in the country’s troubled history. But the recovery has been painfully slow. In the center of Koidu sits an enormous tank gun with a sign slung around its barrel — “War don don, we love peace,” a hopeful message in English and Sierra Leone’s lingua franca, Krio, placed there at the end of the war. "

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