March 19, 2010

Song of the Week: Because No One Should Read Too Much on a Friday

Issues of Natural Security often seem to liken themselves to the work of Rube Goldberg. The actions of one state can sometimes have devastating knock-on effects down the pipeline, often so far removed that the connections in between can be difficult to identify.

Kanye West’s 2005 song Diamonds from Sierra Leone examines one such chain reaction which begins with jewelry and, after a series of actions usually far more sobering than the traditional Goldberg contraption, ties into the brutal instability of Sierra Leone. The conflict mineral phenomenon is not limited to diamonds. It burrows deep into the tin, tungsten, and tantalum mines of places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Darfur. Access to coveted natural resources offers warlords and others the ability to fuel deadly and destabilizing resource wars, which some describe as “the deadliest conflict globally since World War II.”

Mr. West, Imma let you finish this post:

Good morning, this ain’t Vietnam; still
people lose legs, hands, arms. For real.
Little is known of Sierra Leone
and how it connects to the diamonds we own