December 11, 2006 | Photos | editor | 0 Comments

Russell Simmons took a nine day fact-finding mission to South Africa and Botswana last week to take a first hand look at the diamond mining industry after an invitation from the Diamond Information Center.  And the Daily News says, “Simmons came away with mostly positive impressions of how the diamond business has improved the lives of the poor there."  Simmons said:

"They're smart business people … I'm not here to defend the past of these companies. I'm here to talk about the current reality. Diamonds pay for education and medical treatment in Africa."

Which is news to Ed Zwick, director of the new Leo DiCaprio movie "Blood Diamond”.  The term "blood diamond", of course, is another term for a "conflict diamond", meaning a diamond mined in a war zone and sold – probably to DeBeers – to finance guerilla armies and civil wars in Africa.  DeBeers supplies the diamonds Simmons uses in his Simmons Jewelry line.  Zwick says:

"If you want to know about conflict diamonds, you don't go to Botswana and South Africa. You go to Sierra Leone and Angola. … Russell Simmons is being embarrassed."

You probably don't have to be a powerful psychic to figure out that the diamond industry might have a secret agenda when it comes to informing people about the diamond industry.  Stop number one on Russell's tour was probably a kids park where the kids dance and sing and all the slides are diamond encrusted and there's a giant mascot named Sparkle the Friendly Diamond who would hug the kids and take pictures, and he gave one of them CPR because the kid almost died from being so happy.  "It seems to me that the biggest threat posed by the diamond industry,” Russell did not say, “is that some people may faint from squealing with delight.“

Tags: ed zwick leonardo dicaprio russell simmons

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