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Brighter than day, the sunlight reflects

Making each of them gleam

Individually & set into necklaces

Clear, beautiful stones in a storefront window.

The shine alone was enough

To bring you inside the store for a closer look.


The counter clerk eagerly

Shows you his vast collection of shiny stones

On display.

Only one of them catches your eye.

Pulling it from the display, you admire the

Prettiest stone from your fingertips.

Luminescent. Too beautiful for words.

One cannot help but wonder about its origins.


Where did it come from?

How did it get here?

What is it used for?


Deep in the heart of the Dark Continent,

Inside mineshafts, enshrouded in darkness.

With just a flashlight & tools,

Dirty hands extract stones from the earth

Against their will.

At the expense of their arms & legs.


From frontline massacres.

Gunfights between a ruthless state and

Its armed rebels.

Rain of bullets, instant rupture.

Fighting for possession of the mines.


Smuggled into nations nearby.

300,000 karats flood the world market each year,

At the behest of Western tastes.


For the glamour.

The look of social greatness,

All from a shining

Owning-class status symbol.

Epitome of wealth & prestige

In the First World.


For financing well-armed competition

Against the state

Supported by rival states. Rampant

Destruction of nature & society

In the Third World.




Sierra Leone



Stripped to the bone


Of their precious resource.

Precious crimson spent

For precious gems

Deemed more valuable

Than human lives.


The jewel industry grows stronger,

As all colonial enterprises have over the centuries.


Now drop that stone.

It's stained

With the blood of Africans.


W: 4.14.07

[ For Bakari Olatunji. ]


[ From the book Crimson Stain, EYEPUBLISHEWE, 2024. ]

blood diamondsAfricajewel industrydiamond mines




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leon stolgard

Tue 27th Feb 2024 19:10

Quite a well written poetical informative tale Dee the suffering by these poor mineworking folk no doubt exists to this very day as they say wheres theres muck theres brass or in this case what I would call ' bloodied rocks '


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