Foreign Policy Blogs

'Blood Diamond'


I wasn't going to write a piece on a movie, but I have heard so much talk about one in particular that I feel I cannot ignore its effect on the general population. After having so many people approach me since the release of Blood Diamond, and even more since it came out on DVD, I figured I better address the conversations and questions I get. I feel like some people are finally getting a bit of a reality shock. I have been inundated with people telling me, "I saw Blood DiamondI couldn't believe my eyesI couldn't even finish the movie". Many of my friends finally got why I do what I do, and why I am so passionate about telling people everywhere I go about the plight of people around the world. Unfortunately it also reminded me of how little people think it affects them, as most people who mentioned the movie to me also said, "but how does it affect me, we have our own problems here in America to deal with, like healthcare"

The movie is set in Sierra Leone in 1999, and yes the war in Sierra Leone is now over, since 2002, although it is a rocky peace and it will take a long time to rebuild from the years of war. Blood Diamond clearly shows the use of child soldiers, civil wars lead by greed and human slaves, including children. I for one am happy to see movies of this caliber on any subject of this, or similar matters, like Lord of War, Last King of Scotland, Hotel Rwanda and so on. Unfortunately, and I am not trying to be cynical here, but I believe the average American will not know about these issues if they are not portrayed by Hollywood actors on the big screen. I don't mean to say the general American public is ignorant, but merely under or uninformed. We all know now that we failed to report or do much about so many problems, we failed Rwanda and it took ten years before many people even knew the reality of what happened, and that was all thanks to Hollywood. So thank you to Blood Diamond, as now maybe people will see the reality of the 300,000 child soldiers, the millions of human slaves around the world, arms trade, and the number of conflicts that are still brewing around the world.

I have written in previous blogs about the use of child soldiers and why they are so desired, especially in Africa. The movie shows how children are indoctrinated into this forced life of violence, how they are broken down, and their will to be a free child is quickly turned into that of survival. A child ripped away from his mother's arms, to fight a war he knows little about, for a cause that no one seems to be sure what is. Child solders being fueled with drugs and alcohol, pumped up by gangster rap, lies, fear, and greedthis is no dramatization, nor is the amputations of hands of men, women and children, is no liethe scenes in this movie are not over played. No matter how violent this movie appears to your eyes, it is far less violent than the reality that was faced by the men, woman and children who experienced this life every day. The were not able to turn off the TV and go back to their happy lives, live with their modern luxuriesthey were not even able to sleep in peace, while we lie snuggly in our warm homes.

Part 1 of 2…



Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict