Cecil Rhodes: A Bad Man in Africa
The evil that men do lives after them – and rarely more miserably than in the case of Cecil Rhodes, who died 100 years ago this month.
By Matthew Sweet
North of the Zambezi, they have long known about the suppression of free speech, about the bloody redistribution of land along racial lines, about politicians happy to employ armed – and sometimes uniformed – mobs to kill their opponents. They are practices imported to this region, along with the railways, by the British.
Unlike the African press, the Western media rarely invoke the name of Cecil John Rhodes: nearly a century after his death – on 26 March 1902 – his name is more associated with Oxford Scholarships than with murder. It’s easier to focus on the region’s more recent, less Anglo white supremacists: Ian Smith, for instance, who – despite his Scottish background – seems cut from the same stuff as those Afrikaner politicians who nurtured and maintained apartheid farther south.
But it was Rhodes who originated the racist “land grabs” to which Zimbabwe’s current miseries can ultimately be traced. It was Rhodes, too, who in 1887 told the House of Assembly in Cape Town that “the native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism in our relations with the barbarians of South Africa”. In less oratorical moments, he put it even more bluntly: “I prefer land to niggers.”
For much of the century since his death, Rhodes has been revered as a national hero. Today, however, he is closer to a national embarrassment, about whom the less said the better. Yet there are plenty of memorials to him to be found. In Bishop’s Stortford, his Hertfordshire birthplace, St Michael’s Church displays a plaque. The town has a Rhodes arts centre, a Rhodes junior theatre group, and a small Rhodes Museum – currently closed – which houses a collection of African art objects. In Oxford, his statue adorns Oriel College, while Rhodes House, in which the Rhodes Trust is based, is packed with memorabilia. Even Kensington Gardens boasts a statue – of a naked man on horseback – based on the central feature of his memorial in Cape Town.
But his presence is more strongly felt – and resented – in the territories that once bore his name. Delegates at the Pan Africanist Congress in January argued that “the problems which were being blamed on [President Robert] Mugabe were created by British colonialism, whose agent Cecil Rhodes used armed force to acquire land for settlers”. He is the reason why, during the campaign for the presidential election in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s Zanu-PF described its enemies – white or black – as “colonialists”; why, when Zimbabwe gained full independence in 1980, Rhodes’s name was wiped from the world’s maps.
The prosecution case is strong. Rhodes connived his way to wealth in a lawless frontier culture, then used that fortune to fund a private invasion of East Africa. He bought newspapers in order to shape and control public opinion. He brokered secret deals, issued bribes and used gangs of mercenaries to butcher his opponents, seizing close to a million square miles of territory from its inhabitants. Although he did this in the name of the British Empire, he was regarded with some suspicion in his home country, and when it suited him to work against Britain’s imperial interests – by slipping £10,000 to Parnell’s Irish nationalists, for example – he did so without scruple.
Rhodes was born in the summer of 1853, the fifth son of a parson who prided himself on never having preached a sermon longer than 10 minutes. A sickly, asthmatic teenager, he was sent to the improving climate of his brother’s cotton plantation in Natal. The pair soon became involved in the rush to exploit South Africa’s diamond and gold deposits – and unlike many prospectors and speculators who wandered, dazed and luckless, around the continent, their claim proved fruitful.
When Rhodes began his studies at Oriel College, he returned to South Africa each vacation to attend to his mining interests – which, by his mid-thirties, had made him, in today’s terms, a billionaire. By 1891, he had amalgamated the De Beers mines under his control, giving him dominion over 90 per cent of the world’s diamond output. He had also secured two other important positions; Prime Minister of the British Cape Colony, and president of the British South Africa Company, an organisation that was formed – in the manner of the old East India companies – to pursue expansionist adventures for which sponsoring governments did not have the stomach or the cash. The result of his endeavours produced new British annexations: Nyasaland (now Malawi), Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Rhodes imprinted his personality on the region with monarchical energy: dams, railway engines, towns and anti-dandruff tonics were all named after him. But his expansionist zeal was not always matched at home in Britain. “Our burden is too great,” Gladstone once grumbled. “We have too much, Mr Rhodes, to do. Apart from increasing our obligations in every part of the world, what advantage do you see to the English race in the acquisition of new territory?” Rhodes replied: “Great Britain is a very small island. Great Britain’s position depends on her trade, and if we do not open up the dependencies of the world which are at present devoted to barbarism, we shall shut out the world’s trade. It must be brought home to you that your trade is the world, and your life is the world, not England. That is why you must deal with these questions of expansion and retention of the world.”
At around the same time, Henry John Heinz was outlining a comparable manifesto: “Our field,” he pronounced, “is the world.” By 1900, his 57 varieties were available in every continent. Global capitalism and imperial expansion developed in collaboration; shared aims, aspirations, patterns of influence. Today, most of the world’s political empires have been dissolved and discredited, but the routes along which capital moves remain the same. After Rhodes came Nestlé, Coca-Cola, BP, McDonald’s, Microsoft.
In 1896, Rhodes’s name was linked with the Jameson Raid – a disastrous (and illegal) attempt to annex Transvaal territory held by the Boers, and a principal cause of the South African War of 1899-1902. His reputation in Britain accrued a lasting tarnish. A defence of his character, published in 1897 and co-authored by the pseudonymous “Imperialist”, offers an insight into the charges against him: “Bribery and corruption”, “neglect of duty”, “harshness to the natives” and the allegation that “that Mr Rhodes is utterly unscrupulous”. His lifelong companion Dr Leander Starr Jameson – a future premier of the Cape Colony and the leader of the ill-fated raid – added a postscript insisting that some of Rhodes’s best blacks were friends: “His favourite Sunday pastime was to go into the De Beers native compound, where he had built them a fine swimming bath, and throw in shillings for the natives to dive for. He knew enough of their languages to talk to them freely, and they looked up to him – indeed, fairly worshipped the great white man.”
Did anyone buy this stuff? After Rhodes’s fatal heart attack on 26 March 1902, the death notices were ambivalent. News editors across the world cleared their pages for obituaries and reports of public grief in South Africa, but few wholehearted endorsements of his career emanated from London. “He has done more than any single contemporary to place before the imagination of his countrymen a clear conception of the Imperial destinies of our race,” conceded The Times, “[but] we wish we could forget the other matters associated with his name.” Empire-builders such as Rhodes, the paper said, attracted as much opprobrium as praise: “On the one hand they are enthusiastically admired, on the other they are stones of stumbling, they provoke a degree of repugnance, sometimes of hatred, in exact proportion to the size of their achievements.” Jameson and “Imperialist”, it seems, had not succeeded in rehabilitating their mentor.
But the story of Rhodes’s posthumous reputation is just as complex and contentious as that of his life and career. And curiously, his sexuality was one of the main battlegrounds. In 1911, Rhodes’s former private secretary Philip Jourdan wrote a biography of his late employer in order to counter “the most unjust libels with reference to his private life [which] were being disseminated throughout the length and breadth of the country”. Despite the aggressive romantic attentions of a Polish adventuress and forger named Princess Catherine Radziwill, Rhodes was indifferent to women and gained a reputation for misogyny. His most intense relationships were with men – his private secretary Neville Pickering, who died in his arms; Jameson, whom he met at the diamond mines in Kimberley where, the doctor recalled, “we shared a quiet little bachelor establishment”; and Johnny Grimmer, of whom Jourdan (defeating the purpose of his memoir) said: “He liked Johnny to be near him… The two had many little quarrels. On one occasion for a couple of days they hardly exchanged a word. They were not unlike two schoolboys.”
Rhodes’s excuse for remaining single was the one used today by members of boy bands: “I know everybody asks why I do not marry. I cannot get married. I have too much work on my hands.” Instead, he accumulated a shifting entourage of young men, known as “Rhodes’s lambs”. It’s probable that these relationships were more homosocial than homosexual, but that didn’t stop the gossips or biographical theoreticians. In 1946, Stuart Collete suggested Rhodes was “one of those who, passing beyond the ordinary heterosexuality of the common man, that the French call l’homme moyen sensual, was beyond bisexuality, beyond homosexuality and was literally asexual – beyond sex. It appears to have had no literal meaning to him except as a human weakness that he understood he could exploit in others”. The same biographer wove these comments into an analysis of Rhodes’s appeal to another set of posthumous acolytes: the Nazis.
As the 20th century moved on, Rhodes’s memory became increasingly attractive to extreme (and eventually moderate) right-wing opinion. Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West (1918) hailed him as “the first precursor of a Western type of Caesar – in our Germanic world, the spirits of Alaric and Theodoric will come again – there is a first hint of them in Cecil Rhodes”.
It’s easy to see why Spengler, and later Hitler, were fans. Asked by Jameson how long he would endure in memory, Rhodes replied: “I give myself four thousand years.” To the journalist WT Stead he said: “I would annex the planets, if I could. I often think of that.” When, in 1877, he first made his will, he urged his executors to use his fortune to establish a secret society that would aim to redden every area of the planet. He envisioned a world in which British settlers would occupy Africa, the Middle East, South America, the Pacific and Malay islands, China and Japan, before restoring America to colonial rule and founding an imperial world government. “He was deeply impressed,” Jameson recalled, “with a belief in the ultimate destiny of the Anglo-Saxon race. He dwelt repeatedly on the fact that their great want was new territory fit for the overflow population to settle in permanently, and thus provide markets for the wares of the old country – the workshop of the world.” It was a dream of mercantile Lebensraum for the English: an empire of entrepreneurs, occupying African territories in order to fill them with Sheffield cutlery, Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls.
But it was Rhodes’s Alma Mater that did most to brighten his prestige. In 1899, Oxford University, an institution with a long and continuing history of accepting money from morally dubious millionaires, agreed to administer a more cuddly and less clandestine version of the “Imperial Carbonari” of the 1877 will: the Rhodes Scholars. In 1903, the first names were selected. A group of men fitted for “manly outdoor sports”, who would display “qualities of manhood, truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for the protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship” – men such asBill Clinton, the CIA director Stansfield Turner, the first Secretary General of the Commonwealth Sir Arnold Smith, and the Nato Supreme Commander Bernard Rogers.
By 1936, ML Andrews was praising Rhodes’s “vision of world peace, to be brought about by the domination of the English-speaking nations”. In the same year the Gaumont-British film company produced the hagiographic movie, Rhodes of Africa. Two years later, the little Rhodes Museum was founded in Bishop’s Stortford. When it reopens next year, children will, for a fiver, be able to sign up as one of “Rhodes’s Little Rhinos”.
A 1956 children’s book, Peter Gibbs’s The True Book About Cecil Rhodes – one of a series that also profiled Marie Curie, Captain Scott and Joan of Arc – is the best example of how, in the mid-20th century, Rhodes was reclaimed as a national hero. More unalloyed in its enthusiasm for Rhodes than any comparable 19th-century text, it makes for queasy reading. Especially, perhaps, if you were voting in Zimbabwe last weekend. Southern Rhodesia, it reports, is now “tamed and civilised and cultivated, and many thousands of white people have settled there, and made it their home. Today there are beautiful modern towns; homes, gardens, parks, towering blocks of offices and flats; factories, railways and airports. It is a new and thriving country of the British Commonwealth, where but recently only savages and wild animals dwelt. And it started from the dreams of one young Englishman – Cecil Rhodes”.
All Diamonds are Blood Diamonds
- Africa and all its resources are the birthright of African people everywhere All Diamonds are Blood Diamonds
- The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has forced us to recognize the terrible price paid by peoples around the world the oil reserves necessary for the daily functioning of the U.S. economic life. The slogan is “No blood for oil.”
- In the Niger Delta of Nigeria African people living in dire poverty are fighting shell Oil for control over the multi-dollar oil industry on their own land. 70 percent on less than a dollar a day. The poverty, lack of electricity and sanitation and profound pollution. Yet Shell Oil and other oil corporations have made more than $300 billion on Nigerian oil. White people live in mansions with big SUVs in the same area. The people of this area are waging armed struggle. They say if they cannot benefit from the oil, no one will benefit from the oil. They call it “blood oil.”
- The U.S. and European controlled chocolate industry in Africa is a bitter reality. Ivory Coast produces 40 percent of the world’s cocoa and in West Africa there are more than a quarter million young African children working in enslavement in the cocoa plantations. All chocolate is blood chocolate.
- We can even show that even aluminum foil can be called Blood aluminum . In Guinea Conakry earlier this year there was a general strike for over a month. Guinea has 40 percent of the world’s bauxite, the mineral needed to make aluminum, but the average income of those considered “middle class” is $500 a year. Alcoa, Reynolds and other corporations are making billions of dollars but the people are forced to live under a repressive government and cannot even afford to buy rice in a country where gas costs almost $5 a liter.
- In Congo 5 million people have been killed in the past few years in U.S. and imperialist backed wars over Coltan the mineral that is the electrical conductor necessary for cell phones and computers. 80 percent of the world’s coltan is in Congo. So we say all computers and cell phones are blood computers and cell phones. Coltan worth over $400 a pound in a world where 1.7 billion people have wireless phones–one out of every 4 on the planet. Child labor, murder, dire poverty–a few dollars a day at best–rape, death in the mines–thousands die in the mine shafts and also from starvation–mostly children.
- Blood cell phones and computers
- We don’t have to go to Africa or other places. The U.S. is built on African enslaved labor. IIn the U.S. a multitude o products such as office furniture, jeans, clothing, bedding, clocks and signs are made by slave labor inside of prisons. The prison industry has half a million workers more than any Fortune 500 corporation. With more than 2 million mostly African and Mexican people incarcerated With more than 2 million mostly African and Mexican people incarcerated inside the U.S. facing Three Strikes and mandatory minimums, one in three African men between the ages of 20 and 29 is either in jail, on probation or parole. In a private Texas prison guards were videotaped beating, shocking, kicking and setting dogs on prisoners—what u.S. soldiers did in Abu Ghraib has been practiced against African people in U.S. prisons for years. So we can say all prison products are blood products.
- In a system built on centuries of the enslavement of African people, on genocide, oppression and colonialism in this country and around the world we can say that beneath the sparkling veneer of every resource that we take for granted is a very ugly story.
- So this is the context that we say that All diamonds are blood diamonds!
- We are sold the idea that diamonds are a symbol of beauty and long-lasting love. “Diamonds are forever,” “a girl’s best friend.”
- The truth about diamonds is not beautiful—diamonds are steeped genocide, colonialism, poverty and oppression–controlled by the brutal DeBeers diamond cartel.
- In 1938 DeBeers cartel hired a Philadelphia public relations firm when sales were sagging– to market to Americans that diamond rings were a necessity for engagements and weddings. In the past diamonds were relatively rare as engagement rings. To do this they launched slogan “A diamond is forever,” and promoted the myth that a diamond ring should cost two months salary.
- The reality is diamonds are not particularly valuable. They can be found around the world. Their value is created by manufactured scarcity—forcibly keeping diamonds off the market to increase their value. Unlike most other precious stones they do no appreciate with age and have a poor resale value.
- Finest large gem-quality diamonds come from Sierra Leone, along with Angola, Namibia and Congo.
- Diamonds are not just for jewelry–it is the strongest material in the world.Used in cutting, in airplanes and in defense–ESSENTIAL to the U.S. military industry. Industrial diamonds worth $10,000 a pound.
- DeBeers is a cartel which is a monopoly that controls every aspect of the economy of the product. DeBeers controls not only mining but cutting, polishing, setting into jewelry, pricing and selling world wide. Millions of children and very young people involved in diamond industry.
- The concept of blood or conflict diamonds came about in reference to the brutal imperialist backed wars in Sierra Leone and West Africa in the 1990s.
- Sierra Leone is a former British colony on the West Coast of Africa.
- British colonialism In the 1700s Bunce Island in the Sierra Leone River was called the “slave factory.” From here the British supplied captive Africans particularly to Charlestown South Carolina and to Georgia. Americans. The North American slave ships that called at Bunce Island were sailing out of Newport (Rhode Island), New London (Connecticut), Salem (Massachusetts), and New York.
- More than 50,000 Africans were kidnapped from Sierra Leone mostly into South Carolina and Georgia. They were called the Gullah people–worked in rice paddies in cotton plantations in the U.S. They were fierce fighters and many escaped from enslavement by joining the Seminoles in Florida where they built thatched roof houses as in their homeland. Thatched roof–environmentally sustainable!
- Sierra Leone won nominal independence from Britain in 1961 with the establishment of neocolonialism as in the rest of Africa.
- Sierra Leone is one of the most impoverished countries in the world–most of the people live on less than a dollar a day. It has the highest infant mortality in the world and the life expectancy for men is 38 years.
- Yet Sierra Leone has immense natural resources Diamonds-some of the best in the world Titanium ore (red)– ･ in the aerospace industry – for example in aircraft engines and air frames; ･ for replacement hip joints; ･ for pipes, etc, in the nuclear, oil and chemical industries where corrosion is likely to occur. Bauxite used for aluminum Gold Chromite (green) used in stainless steel.
- Chromite–stainless steel. As in the rest of Africa the profits and benefits of Sierra Leone’s natural resources are in Europe and North America. Although the resources are on their land, the people are deeply impoverished. 80 percent of households in Sierra Leone must use charcoal and wood for cooking. . In the world 2.4 billion people still cook over wood , charcoal or dung fires.
- Neocolonialism. Former British colonizers continue to control the economy, the military and the governing of Sierra Leone — neocolonialism leaving only crumbs. Along with other imperialist states they continue to extract the wealth.
- In the 1990s The Revolutionary United Front emerged led by Foday Sankoh. At first the people thought they were fighting in the interest of the people. But they were imperialist influenced fighting for crumbs of the colonial plunder. They launched a brutal war against the people of Sierra Leone with 50,000 murdered and tens of thousands of mutilations. It is said that DeBeers and Israel were the biggest benefactors of the war.
- By cutting off the people’s hands-signature torture used by the Belgian colonizers against African people in Congo during Belgian colonialism.
- The RUF forced young children to fight and to carry out most of the atrocities–often against other children The child soldiers given tea, coffee and stimulant drugs.
- RUF took over some of the diamond mines–this is a picture of one — and began selling diamonds on the open market outside of the control of DeBeers.
- From DeBeers website Because this served to depress DeBeers artificially high prices for diamonds based on manufactured scarcity, the DeBeers cartel was threatened. This prompted DeBeers to come up with the concept of the “blood” or “conflict” diamond–not because of concern for the people but because they did not want to see the price of diamonds go down.
- So DeBeers diamond cartel set up the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme–that would supposedly determine if a diamond is “blood” or clean. Police policing themselves–like Alberto Gonzalez policing himself.
- The reality is DeBeers is the key figure behind the issue of blood diamonds. Under the “legitimate” diamond mines of Sierra Leone–meaning the DeBeers and imperialist controlled mines–African miners are forced to work for almost nothing. Most of the diggers must work “independently getting only a tiny percentage on any diamonds that they find which are taken by the mine. Only a few workers actually get a salary–from 30 cents to $2 a day. Nicky Oppenheimer and CEOs of DeBeers–one world’s richest men worth 3 billion dollars–eats organic foods and farm.
- According to an international trade union report 72 percent of the children of Sierra Leone between the ages of 5 to 14 are forced into paid or unpaid labor–in the legitimate diamonds mines or other industry. In that region nearly a half million children are forced into labor. Childhood is a result of privilege.
- There is no electrical grid. Only oil lanterns at night. Only electricity is from generators and 82% of that is in Freetown. In sierra Leone only 1% use generators and 85 percent use oil lamps.
- Sierra Leone has no running water, no water purification system, little hygiene or few toilets.
- Sierra Leone has no system of roads, few paved roads and most roads are impassable in rainy season.
- How things got the way they are
- Africa is the birthplace of civilization–all science, mathematics, art, philosophy, religion and archeology originated in Africa. Sierra Leone and most of West Africa was part of the African civilization of Mali (the people called it Manden) from 1235 to 1645 — ended by the enslavement of African people. It had enormous influence in the whole world. One of its cities Timbuktu was a center of learning–people came from everywhere to study and to enjoy the lively social and artistic culture. There was a medical school that taught delicate eye operations to remove cataracts. Mansa Musa was one of the famous rulers of Mali in the 1300s. He brought architects and scholars into Mali. His rule was known for prosperity and stability of the country as well as for artistic, educational and technological achievement.
- Europe in the middle ages was backwards, disease ridden, poor oppressed and warlike.
- In the 1300s the plague swept through Europe killing up to a half of the population and destroying the already impoverished agricultural economy of feudalism.
- Europe rescued itself by its assault on Africa. In 1415 Henry the Navigator (never sailed a ship) sent Portuguese fleets out to the west coast of Africa to attempt to gain control of the wealthy African trade in gold, silver and other resources–trade that had gone on for centuries–millennia–connecting trade routes to the Middle East and Asia. They found African people themselves to be their most valuable commodity. The Arabs had a trade in African people as slaves for a thousand years. The slave trade started almost 80 years before Columbus sailed for the Americas By 1500 Portugal had extracted 700 tons of African gold, shipping it to Portugal and had kidnapped more than 81,000 African people into slavery.
- Men, women and children in chains were stacked on top of each other on pallets in the holds of ships with the hideous stench of open pits of human waste. The pallets (seen on the lower left) were no more than 15 inches high. Hundreds of thousands of African people died of disease or starvation, or were murdered for attempted resistance and thrown overboard. The ecology of the Atlantic Ocean was changed by the slave trade. Schools of sharks would follow the slave ships to feed off the African men, women and children who died and were murdered on board and who were thrown overboard.
- The trade in African people was the key ingredient in the triangular trade bringing captives from Africa as forced labor for the plantations of the Americas, transporting resources such as cotton, sugar, tobacco and rum to North America and to England.
- Along with the assault on Africa was the genocide against the Indigenous people and the theft of their land and resources. Above is aftermath of U.S. slaughter at Wounded Knee in 1890. And VOLUNTEER cavalry.
- This slaughter, genocide, rape and plunder of the peoples of the Earth brought unprecedented wealth into Europe for the first time.
- This is what brought about the industrial revolution and transform Europe from feudalism to capitalism.
- In the U.S. the “founding fathers” were slave masters, owners of African people and instigators of the genocide against the Indigenous people. This is the “founding values” of America. This slide shows an idealized, falsified serene picture of the treatment by George Washington of enslaved Africans who was known for his brutality. Washington “owned” more than 300 African people, giving them meager daily rations of a few ounces of grain and fish by-products.
- There were tens of thousands of burnings and lynchings like this one in Kansas City.
- Children at lynchings
- As Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party and leader of the Uhuru Movement states all classes of white people sit on the pedestal of the enslavement of African people and colonized and oppressed peoples around the world.
- Wall Street was the center of New York’s slave auction blocks. In the 18th and 19th centuries enslaved Africans were one fifth the population of New York. When the civil war was declared, New York was so dependent on the cotton industry that the city considered joining the Confederacy. It is telling that an African cemetery was found in recent years under the high rise buildings of Wall Streets—American wealth resting literally on the bodies of African people.
- White people sit on the pedestal of slavery and genocide.
- Throughout Africa and the Americas the resistance of African people was fierce and powerful. We do not learn enough about that–covered over in history books. On the slave ships resistance was the major cause of death for captain and crew. The African Revolution in Haiti in the early 19th century, resistance by the Maroons in the Caribbean and South America the resistance of Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, two city-wide African rebellions in New York City, Gabriel Prosser, Cinque, Harriet Tubman. In Brazil, Surinam–everywhere Africans were enslaved they were in a state of resistance.
- The Shona, Zulu, Chokwe and many other African peoples waged fierce resistance to colonialism and the colonial borders imposed by the Berlin conference. The Ashanti people in Ghana waged armed resistance to the British for 200 years.Above is Yaa Asantewaa, the Ashanti woman resistance leader in 1900.
- King Leopold of Belgium was a leading Abolitionist of his day. He was responsible for turning Congo into a rubber plantation to provide tires for bicycles and the newly emerging automobile industry in Europe and the U.S. in the 1890s. At least 10 million Africans were slaughtered by Leopold’s forces before there was even a word for genocide. Millions had their hands chopped off for resisting being enslaved on their own land. People were sexually assaulted and mutilated. Children were stolen from their parents and taken into camps to be groomed as a colonial army–genocide under international law. Leopold GAVE Congo to Belgium–it was his personal business!
- The scramble for Africa and Africa’s resources. At least two million Africans were killed in the scramble for ivory tusks for piano keys and billiard balls–the center of the ivory trade was Connecticut.
- 80 percent of the Nama and Herero peoples in Namibia were wiped out by the Germans They were rounded up and left to die in the desert without food, water or shelter to die a slow torturous death. Germany has never recognized this genocide or paid reparations even as they paid billions in reparations to Israel. Same methods used by Hitler.
- During this same time the British colonizer Cecil Rhodes came to southern Africa. Rhodes was an ideological colonizer. He believed in British imperialism and promoted it. He said to “prevent civil war you must become an imperialist “ among the workers of England….He created the Rhodes scholarship.
- His goal was to install British imperialism from Cape Town to Cairo and built the Cape-Cairo railway.
- His vision was part of the British empire on which they boasted “the sun never set” because it went around the world. The British empire included 77 countries including India and15 countries in Africa. 458 million people were oppressed in this empire–one quarter of the world’s population at that time under British colonialism. At that time England had the highest standard of living in the world based on the near starvation of the people in Africa, India and the other colonies.
- Cecil Rhodes was a perpetrator of genocide, responsible for the displacement of millions of African people for the benefit of white settlers and enslavement of African people on their own land. White people came from Europe and became wealthy from the theft of the gold and diamonds in Southern Africa. Pass laws.
- Cecil Rhodes founded DeBeers diamond cartel. Rhodes went to south Africa from Britain when he was 18 years sold–he took over the diamond mines at Kimberley south Africa and others in the area. By his early 20s he was a millionaire but he did not retire–he believed in subjugating Africa for the benefit of England.
- Rhodes went to Zimbabwe, the land of the Matabele and Shona who launched fierce resistance led by their leader Lobengula.
- Rhodes paid a mercenary army from England and stocked them with Maxim machine guns. With just 5 machine guns the English slaughtered 5,000 African people in one afternoon alone–then they celebrated with dinner and champagne.
- Winston Churchill and Baden Powell boy scouts. Cecil Rhodes, gay, said he, “thoroughly enjoyed the outing.” Saw the slaughter of Africans as sport and adventure.
- The Chokwe, Shona and Zulu people were among those who led powerful struggles against the European invasions.
- Cecil Rhodes helped set up the apartheid system in south Africa and the pass laws–based on the Jim Crow laws of the United States.
- Pass laws, colonial taxation of African people to force them to work to be used as near slave labor in the diamond mines.
- Africans in the diamond mines were forced to stay away from family and wife, in compounds with only cold tea and bread.–much the same conditions today.
- When Cecil Rhodes died the DeBeers diamond cartel was taken over by the Oppenheimer family.
- The atrocities that took place in Sierra Leone and West Africa were what DeBeers itself has done to African people for a hundred years. On knees Africans, with cans, body cavity searches, Zulu forced to pull rickshaw for owners.
- Diamonds have long played a role in neocolonialism in Africa. Mobutu’s villa on the Riviera , his diamonds, Mobutu one of richest men in the world which says something about the worth of the resources in Congo. CIA worked with Kennedy, Eisenhower and DeBeers to assassinate Lumumba.
- Neocolonialism continues today. Mandela with Nicky Oppenheimer in front of statue of Cecil Rhodes. Mandela has praised DeBeers and Cecil Rhodes. Below: Mandela with Mobutu
- Under Mandela and the ANC the conditions are worse for African workers and better for white people. Today 12 years after the end of apartheid, 61 percent of African people live below the poverty line in South Africa, while only one percent of whites. 96 percent of commercial arable land is still in the hands of whites. Conditions are 14 percent BETTER for white people than they were under apartheid.
- Africa also has up to 90 percent of the world’s reserves of cobalt, manganese, chromium and platinum–in West and Southern Africa. U.S. military needs these to function in the defense industry. Pentagon report say they would do anything to maintain those resources.
- U.S. military and AFRICOM in Africa–says its in the name of “war on terror” U.S. military deploys well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations.US has more than 700 military bases–growing to 1000 by end of decade in 130 countries around the world.
- What is the solution?
- Our lifestyle requires the suffering of African people–in this country There is colonialism inside the U.S. Two Americas Wake up to reality.
- In Africa–our lives are at the expense of African people.
- African people are a colony inside the U.S.–not racism- not ideas inside our heads–political and economic relationship–same as in Iraq, Palestine etc. Two Americas.
- Uhuru Movement is led by Omali Yeshitela, leader of the African People’s Socialist Party, united African People around the world for one united and liberated Africa. In the spirit of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba.
- Africans are one people all over the world.
- Not charity, not peace corps, missionaries, movie stars adopting African babies.
- African resources belong to African people everywhere!
- Building the African Socialist International around the world. Touch One! Touch All!
- Africa in the hands of African working class people, not neocolonialists.
- Unite with the struggle for reparations to African people!
We have to see the world through the eyes of the peoples of the planet struggling for control of their resources, land and lives.
Return your diamond to Africa! Return diamonds to Africa!
British colonizer Cecil Rhodes came to southern Africa. Rhodes was an ideological colonizer – he believed in British imperialism and promoted it. He said to “prevent civil war you must become an imperialist.” He created the Rhodes scholarship. His goal was to install British imperialism from Cape Town to Cairo and built the Cape-Cairo railway. His vision was part of the British Empire on which they boasted “the sun never set” because it went around the world.
The British empire included 77 countries including India and 15 countries in Africa. 458 million people were oppressed in this empire–one quarter of the world’s population at that time under British colonialism. At that time England had the highest standard of living in the world based on the near starvation of the people in Africa, India and the other colonies.
Cecil Rhodes was a perpetrator of genocide, responsible for the displacement of millions of African people for the benefit of white settlers and enslavement of African people on their own land. White people came from Europe and became wealthy from the theft of the gold and diamonds in Southern Africa.
Cecil Rhodes founded DeBeers diamond cartel. Rhodes went to south Africa from Britain when he was 18 years sold–he took over the diamond mines at Kimberley south Africa and others in the area. By his early 20s he was a millionaire but he did not retire–he believed in subjugating Africa for the benefit of England.
Rhodes went to Zimbabwe, the land of the Matabele and Shona who launched fierce resistance led by their leader Lobengula
Rhodes paid a mercenary army from England and stocked them with Maxim machine guns. With just 5 machine guns the English slaughtered 5,000 African people in one afternoon alone–then they celebrated with dinner and champagne.
Winston Churchill and Baden Powell boy scouts. Cecil Rhodes, gay, said he, “thoroughly enjoyed the outing.” Saw the slaughter of Africans as sport and adventure.
The Chokwe, Shona and Zulu people were among those who led powerful struggles against the European invasions.
Cecil Rhodes helped set up the apartheid system in south Africa and the pass laws–based on the Jim Crow laws of the United States.
Pass laws, colonial taxation of African people to force them to work to be used as near slave labor in the diamond mines.
Africans in the diamond mines were forced to stay away from family and wife, in compounds with only cold tea and bread.–much the same conditions today.
When Cecil Rhodes died the DeBeers diamond cartel was taken over by the Oppenheimer family.
The atrocities that took place in Sierra Leone and West Africa were what DeBeers itself has done to African people for a hundred years. On knees Africans, with cans, body cavity searches, Zulu forced to pull rickshaw for owners.
Diamonds have long played a role in neocolonialism in Africa. Mobutu’s villa on the Riviera , his diamonds, Mobutu one of richest men in the world which says something about the worth of the resources in Congo. CIA worked with Kennedy, Eisenhower and DeBeers to assassinate Lumumba
Cecil Rhodes and the Cult of Eugenics
The British East India Company, modeled on the older Levant Company of Venice, had been raping India since the early 1700s; but it wasn’t until 1763 that this Venetian faction was able to seize control over the Empire as a whole.
It was the rapacious looting policies of this faction that forced the American colonies to declare their independence.
British imperialist Cecil Rhodes, founder of the British Roundtable,
set out to establish institutions which would ensure that his white supremacist policies would outlive him.
After the American Revolution, the British launched a renewed drive against India, completely conquering the Subcontinent by the first years of the new century. It was in this period that the opium trade, for which India was the linchpin, became the dominant pursuit of the Empire.
After Lincoln’s victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War, and even more so after the 1876 Centennial Celebration, it became clear that the United States could not be conquered militarily. The British responded by launching the pseudo-science of eugenics, and also the Round Table movements of Cecil Rhodes and Lord Alfred Milner.
In the 1880s and 1890s, this elite movement created:
the Eugenics Society, founded by Sir Arthur Balfour of the Venetian-origin Cecil family
John Ruskin’s Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, opposing the entire European Renaissance
the Round Table of Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Milner, Balfour, and their friends, strategists from the African and Asian empire, seeking world power for the Anglo-Saxon master race.
These men shared a bored contempt for the existence of mankind, like the satanic Zeus of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Their idea was to convince the United States to join them in their quest for Anglo-Saxon world government.
The Round Table of Cecil Rhodes was centered on the imperial networks of South Africa, which later spawned raw materials monoliths such as,
Rio Tinto Zinc
It was this inhuman cabal which ran the Boer War, conducted genocide against the black population, and later set up the horrendous Apartheid regime.
One of the wealthiest, most influential, and evil men of his day, Rhodes was a virulent racist, or as he and his friends termed it, a race patriot, who wrote in a document called Confession of Faith:
“I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings; what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. I contend that every acre added to our territory means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence.
Added to this the absorption of the greater portion of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars; at this moment had we not lost America I believe we could have stopped the Russian-Turkish war by merely refusing money and supplies. Having these ideas what scheme could we think of to forward this object?
“Why should we not form a secret society with but one object: the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilized world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, and for the making of the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire?
“Africa is still lying ready for us, it is our duty to take it. It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory and we should keep this one idea steadily before our eyes: that more territory simply means more of the Anglo-Saxon race, more of the best, the most human, most honorable race the world possesses”
Over the course of his life, Rhodes commissioned seven wills to be written, all expressing this same purpose.
His fortune was to be used for setting up the Rhodes Trust and Rhodes Scholarship as a means of recruiting American and Commonwealth Anglophiles into the imperial faction:
“Let us form the same kind of society, a Church for the extension of the British Empire.
A society which should have its members in every part of the British Empire working with one object and one idea we should have its members placed at our universities and our schools and should watch the English youth passing through their hands just one perhaps in every thousand would have the mind and feelings for such an object, he should be tried in every way, he should be tested whether he is endurant, possessed of eloquence, disregardful of the petty details of life, and if found to be such, then elected and bound by oath to serve for the rest of his life in his Country.
He should then be supported if without means by the Society and sent to that part of the Empire where it was felt he was needed.”
In his will, Rhodes authorized provisions for:
“…the extension of British rule throughout the world. The colonization by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour, and enterprise and especially the occupation by British settlers of:
the entire Continent of Africa
the Holy Land
the Valley of the Euphrates
the islands of Cyprus and Candia
the whole of South America
the islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain
the whole of the Malay Archipelago
the seaboard of China and Japan
the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire”
It was this same British network of families (including the Huxley clan, the Cadburys, the Darwins, and the Wedgewoods) and banking interests, with offshoots in North America and the rest of Europe, which spawned the early 20th-century eugenics movement.
This set ran the zoos, and said men were base animals, and they directed British colonial strategy and official science. Eugenics claimed that the English upper class ruled because they were genetically superior.
The English masters humored themselves with this doctrine enforced on their beaten-down subjects, in India, which the English reduced to starvation and political impotence by closing native industries; and in South Africa under white rule.
These were the very same families who funded Hitler, and exerted their influence over the German banking system to have him appointed Chancellor in 1933. In 1917, while World War I was still raging, Lord Lothian, one of Lord Milner’s most important protégés, suddenly departed from his previously fanatical anti-German rhetoric. As soon as Germany is crushed, he said, let us rearm and remilitarize it under the most reactionary leaders, and point Germany towards war with Russia and France.
This was done 16 years later, in 1933.
At the same time, the Anglo-Saxon eugenics doctrine was imported into Germany, to help shape Nazi rule.
The cabal called for the sterilization or euthanizing of unfit members of society, to spare the expense of their lives, much like today’s privatized HMO system functions; and these policies have always been a doctrine of racial aggression.
In 1932, the Third International Eugenics Conference was held in New York City, chaired by the rabid bigot Fairfield Osborn, whose like-minded nephew would later create the Conservation Foundation.
Osborn was president of the American Museum of Natural History and a close colleague of the notoriously racist Julian Huxley, and the co-host of the conference, the Harriman family.
The state was named after Cecil John Rhodes, whose British South Africa Company acquired the land in the 19th century.
The state was governed by a predominantly white minority government until 1979, initially as a self-governing colony then, after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, as a self-proclaimed sovereign Dominion, and latterly a Republic. Throughout its history, Rhodesia continued to be referred to by the British, who did not recognize the state, as “Southern Rhodesia”.
Rhodes has been portrayed by Dr. C. Magbaily Fyle as a violent and brutal racist who used forced labour tactics as a means of founding De Beers and other portions of his lucrative success.
lan Smith promised the whites who elected him Prime Minister of Rhodesia in 1982 that he would keep Rhodesia white, at any cost. To stop the black guerrilla fighters trying to overthrow his regime, Smith rationed food for Africans whom he believed were feeding the guerrillas. This cruel measure only served to starve the already undernourished black population. Studies found that over 90% of Rhodesia’s black children were malnourished and nutritional deficiencies were the major cause of infant death. Smith rounded up blacks into concentration camps he called “protective” villages. Believing that ignorant people were less likely to revolt, he cut funding for black education, spending $5 on each black child compared to $80 on each white child. His all white Parliament passed a law protecting officials who took actions for the suppression of “terrorism”, enabling the police and military to commit atrocities. An international trade boycott against Rhodesia arose, but while the US publicly condemned the government, it continued to do business there. In 1971, President Nixon lifted the chrome embargo against Rhodesia at a time when there was a surplus of chrome in the US. Blacks were eventually given the right to vote for some officials, but the opposition to Smith’s government grew so strong that he was ultimately forced to give up some power to blacks. In 1979, Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, a country primarily ruled by blacks.
Rhodes to Hell
Was the father of Rhodesia really the epitome of pure evil?
By Peter Godwin
When I was growing up in Rhodesia, the foreboding image of Cecil John Rhodes, our founder, glowered from bank notes and coins, and from the obverse side of the medal white boys were awarded for doing national service in the Rhodesian security forces. It was a brooding face of livid complexion, a prominent nose overhanging disapproving jowls and a drooping mustache. Even then he struck me as an unlikely visionary and hero.
Rhodes’ story is an inherently implausible one: a sickly, asthmatic vicar’s son from Bishop’s Stortford, England, heads to South Africa for the sake of his health and ends up the richest man in the Western world and the colonizer of a vast tract of Africa. Rhodes had three simultaneous careers in his 49 years–diamond magnate, politician, and imperialist. His big idea was to “save Africa from itself.” Only after his death, in 1902, did the dizzying extent of his imperial fantasy become apparent. In his will, he left a fortune for the establishment of a “secret society” modeled on the Jesuits, with the aim of extending British rule throughout the world.
He was one of few men in history, apart from Simón Bolívar, who managed to get a sizable mainland country named after himself–two countries, actually, Northern and Southern Rhodesia. Only one person topped that, the Italian-born explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who claimed an entire continent. Of course, Northern Rhodesia became Zambia in 1964. And when “Southern Rhodesia” was jettisoned for “Zimbabwe” in 1980, the new black government began energetically wiping away all signs of the man.
In the new South Africa, Rhodes’ statue still clings to the side of Cape Town’s Table Mountain, for the moment at least. Standing on a rough-hewn granite pedestal in his trademark crumpled linen suit, he points northward. “Your hinterland is there,” the inscription mocks, as whites flock out of Africa. Other than that, the scholarships–originally envisioned by Rhodes as part of his plan to create a worldwide, English-speaking ruling elite–which have sent Bill Clinton and thousands of other Americans and Commonwealth students to Oxford, are about all that save Rhodes’ name from obscurity. His most enduring legacy in the post-apartheid world is the De Beers cartel, which he set up to manipulate the world diamond market, and even that looks increasingly shaky. [...]
But somehow this shabbily dressed buffoon, with his falsetto giggle; this fidgeting, bumbling public speaker who was once described by a senior Colonial Office mandarin as “grotesque, impulsive, school-boyish, humorous and almost clownish … not to be regarded as a serious person,” rose to become a business colossus and the prime minister of the Cape Colony, and ran rings around the British government. Lord Salisbury, the British prime minister, eventually granted Rhodes his royal charter to occupy the north. “Take all you can–and ask afterwards,” was his typically wimpish advice, as Rhodes’ pioneer column trekked into the interior. So, like much of British imperialism, the conquest of Rhodesia was a private-sector colonization, costing the British taxpayer nothing, at least initially.
All that remained in the way of Rhodes’ imperial vision of controlling the African interior was “one naked old savage,” as Rhodes called King Lobengula. The story of how the ruler of the Matabele, a tribe that lives in what is now southern Zimbabwe, was cheated of his lands is truly a sad one[.] A pair of binoculars here, a few hundred Martini-Henry rifles there, fail to do the trick. So Dr. Jameson, Rhodes’ sidekick (played by Neil Pearson), treats Lobengula for his gout by turning him into a trembling morphine junkie, prepared to sign anything put in front of him for his next fix. As Rhodes announces to his shareholders in London that shares in the Charter Company have risen 1,500 percent, Lobengula, defeated, his people reduced to servitude, kills himself.
[Rhodes] was discredited even before his death, by his implication in Jameson’s raid on Boer-ruled Johannesburg, an effort to overthrow the Kruger regime and take over the Transvaal that was never sanctioned by the British and turned into a military fiasco and grave political embarrassment. [...]
White men’s memorials don’t usually fare well in Africa. The old pioneer memorial in Chimanimani, the eastern Zimbabwean village where I grew up, was smashed by a posse of comrades from the ruling party’s youth league shortly after independence. But Rhodes’ grave remains intact and undisturbed. A heavy brass plaque marks the spot where his body lies interred within a swollen granite hill–a dwala, we call them–and I dare say it will probably still be there when the next wave of reassessment breaks over Rhodes’ legacy. For Africans are loathe to offend the dead: There is no surer way of provoking ancestral spirits than interfering with their graves, and for all the mixed feelings he evokes, Rhodes is still a powerful spirit.
Rhodes and the white pioneers in southern Africa did behave despicably by today’s standards, but no worse than the white settlers in North America, South America, and Australia; and in some senses better, considering that the genocide of natives in Africa was less complete. For all the former African colonies are now ruled by indigenous peoples, unlike the Americas and the Antipodes, most of whose aboriginal natives were all but exterminated.
his nation declared its independence from the United Kingdom. It depicts Prime Minister Ian Smith and has the text:
Rhodesian Independence – 11 November1965
The back depicts Rhodesian symbols and the message:
We stand behind you
In December 1962 the Rhodesian Front party was elected to power. The party was committed to the concept of white supremacy without the involvement of a United Kingdom that was seen as particularly liberal with the election of a Labor Party Government in 1964. The leader of the Rhodesian Front, Ian Douglas Smith, was elected Prime Minister on 14 April 1964. On Armistice Day, 11 November 1965, the British colony of Southern Rhodesia declared its independence.
The British government had adopted a policy known as No Independence before Majority African Rule (NIBMAR). This policy dictated that those colonies with a substantial population of white settlers would not receive independence except under conditions of universal suffrage and majority rule. The timing of Smith’s telegram announcing the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) to British Prime Minister Harold Wilson is significant. It was sent precisely at 11 a.m. in London on November 11, at the precise moment that the UK started its traditional one minute of silence to mark the end of World War I and honor its war dead. The message was a reminder that Southern Rhodesia had helped the Britain during World War I and World War II and was owed a debt.
Daniel Marston and Carter Malkasian discuss the British philosophy in Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2008:
In 1964 the new British Labor Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, stonewalled Ian Smith, refusing to contemplate anything less than a transfer of power to the African majority. After 18 months of frustration and insecurity, denied British money owed from the breakup of the Federation, excluded from Commonwealth conferences and committees, enduring an unofficial arms embargo, humiliated and blocked at every turn while Rhodesia’s economy stalled and people began to emigrate, Ian Smith acted, declaring Rhodesia unilaterally independent.
There is reason to believe that the British government planned and studied a possible military intervention against the Rhodesian government during the years up to 1965. By the time of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, the British had decided that a military response was out of the question. No British politician wanted to deploy British troops against white Rhodesian forces. However, there is evidence that plans were made for a “contested reinforcement,” (an interesting neutral term that translates to “invasion”). There were two major problems. The first was the loyalty of white British troops that would be asked to fight and possibly kill white Rhodesian soldiers, many of whom had been trained by British instructors or served in the British military. The second and greater problem was the politician’s desire for a limited, sanitary surgical strike on Rhodesia. The generals pointed out that any British invasion would be preceded by air attacks to eliminate the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. This bombing of Rhodesian airfields would lead to a loss of life, both military and civilian. There would be no return to normalcy after such an attack. It would be considered a “stab in the back” by the European Rhodesians. The political results of such an attack were considered so disastrous that no real discussion of invading Rhodesia took place after the declaration of independence.
Both leaflets and posters were prepared and distributed in Great Britain to protest the Rhodesian declaration of independence. The poster above accuses the British Government of selling out the blacks in Rhodesia and demands, “No independence before majority rule. Support the struggle of the Zimbabwe people.”
Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith signs
the Unilateral Declaration of Independence
The Unilateral Declaration of Independence was internationally condemned, and at the behest of Britain, Rhodesia was placed under a United Nations Security Council sanction beginning in 1965 and lasting until the restoration of British rule in December 1979. The sanctions forbade most forms of trade or financial exchange with Rhodesia. South Africa, Portugal, Israel and some Arab states did continue to trade with Rhodesia. Rhodesia maintained its loyalty to Queen Elizabeth but on March 2, 1970 formally severed links with the British Crown.
The Daily Mail of 1 January 1996 reported that Harold Wilson considered dropping leaflets over Rhodesia with a message from the Queen to persuade the country not to rebel against Britain:
It was one of the most extravagant measures contemplated after Ian Smith’s racist regime issued its Unilateral Declaration of Independence on 11 November 1965. The move was branded as “treason” by Harold Wilson, whose Government swiftly responded with economic sanctions.
The idea of a leaflet drop aimed at the colony’s 200,000 whites came from the Governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, whose authority was ignored after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence. But Wilson turned down the plan, saying it would not be “proper” for him to advise the Queen to intervene and that the leaflet drop would be “quite a formidable undertaking.”
But less than a fortnight later, the Prime Minister was under pressure from his own Foreign Secretary to take far more drastic action. The Government, said Michael Stewart, could either wash its hands of Rhodesia altogether and let the United Nations sort it out, or send in troops. The consequences of abandoning Rhodesia would be disastrous, he warned.
The Afro-Asian world as a whole would be embittered by the spectacle of a Western country leaving four million colored people to “the tender mercies of 200,000 white overlords.”
Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith believed that his Rhodesian Front Party could hold power by force for the white minority group it represented. Fifteen years later on 18 April 1980, Zimbabwe emerged as an independent country under majority rule with international recognition.
Zimbabwe was once the center of the Munhumutapa Empire, a great trading dynasty and producer of gold, sometimes believed to be the home of the legendary King Solomon’s mines.
recruitment and training of the Black Nationalist army went into high gear about 1963. Both the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU) were created and this led directly to combat with the white controlled Rhodesian Security Forces. War was waged for 15 years with the Black Nationalist armies slowly beating back the much better equipped armed forces of Rhodesia. The British had won wars against native insurgents in Kenya and Malaya in recent years and the Rhodesians had every reason to believe that they could do the same thing using similar tactics. It was not to be. The tactics that had worked earlier for the British did not work against the insurgents in Rhodesia.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, or so the saying goes. However, for the civilians of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola, West Africa, they represent greed, violence, and blood. The majority of young lovers wooing one another with diamond rings or necklaces don’t realize the real price that is paid for that precious gem to adorn their fingers or necklines. According to the DiamondFacts.org website, diamonds that are mined in the war zones of West Africa in order to finance an insurgent’s war efforts are referred to as “conflict diamonds”, or “blood diamonds”, because of the human sacrifice that is paid for the sale of the gems (1). The Amnesty International USA website explains that the sale of these diamonds have funded the efforts of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebel group in Angola, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group in Sierra Leone, and even the Al Qaeda terrorist network (2). Tens of thousands of civilians are forced to mine for the gems under the most inhuman conditions, and many of them are murdered for their lack of production, for stealing, or just to be made examples of (7).
Between 1991 and 2000, four percent of the diamonds that made it to the U.S. were conflict diamonds, according to the DiamondFacts.org website (2). The images in this essay depict the innocent who are caught in the middle of the conflicts that raged in the areas of Sierra Leone and Angola; from the women to the young children, either forced to dig in the pits, or recruited by the rebel groups. The image of the young boy whose hands have been hacked off is just one of some 20,000 innocent people who the RUF tortured as protest to a 1996 plea for a peace movement. The majority of the women have been raped before being tortured, as proof is shown in the image of the 45-year-old woman with burn scares on her bare back. The images of young boys wielding AK-47 assault rifles is a shocking testimony that these rebel groups are recruiting soldiers at a very young age in order to brainwash them to help support their bloodthirsty cause.
The images in this essay are intended to educate, and hopefully shock those who had no idea that the diamond industry has helped to fund extremely violent conflicts a world away. While the majority of the photos show the horror of the conflicts, some could be taken as photos depicting productivity or development, if viewed out of context. For example, if nothing was known about this topic, the image at the top of the third page could represent job productivity in a third world country to anyone looking at it for the first time. However, because the reader has been informed of the purpose of the diggers on page one, and what a conflict diamond is on page two, the reader understands the real purpose of the workers shown on page three.
The release of the film, Blood Diamond intrigued me to learn more about this subject. Before researching this topic, I had never heard the term “conflict diamond”, nor do I suspect that many others knew about this topic as well. We have been taught so much about the hunger and AIDS epidemics in Africa, but left oblivious to the violence and aftermath generated by the illegal diamond trade. Perhaps if more people were educated about this matter, they’ll appreciate even more, the precious gem they wear on their finger or around their neck.
Campbell, Greg. “Blood Diamonds.” Amnesty Magazine. Amnesty International USA. 30 Nov. 2006.
“Conflict Diamonds.” Diamond Facts.org. 2 Dec. 2006.