Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sierra Leone

Embroiled in a punishing civil war from 1991 to 2002 which left tens of thousands dead and more than two million people (about a third of the population) displaced, the barbarity on this occasion included the custom - on the rebel side - of cutting off the hands and/or feet of their captured enemies. Former Liberian head of state Charles Taylor is currently serving a 50 year prison sentence for his support for those rebels.

For fifteen years, until March 2014, UN peacekeepers held the place together, getting their marching orders from the UN in 2010, when it was determined that the government was finally in control, the rebel army had been decommissioned, and reconciliation was progressing.

Sierra Leone is also famous for its “blood diamonds”, which is to say the trafficking of diamonds across the border to pay the costs of the rebel army. Sierra Leone is less famous for having provided the major embarkation point for west African slaves.

Model Naomi Campbell sporting one of the blood diamonds gifted to her by Charles Taylor

Marks for: 0

Marks against: Whatever you think a blood diamond might be worth.

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