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Focus on Diamonds


For more general images on the theme of diamonds, there are a range of superb (black & white) images taken by photographer Kadir van Lohuizen at, part of the ‘Diamond Matters’ photography exhibition.

Conflict Diamonds

This page includes an activity to investigate the issue of ‘conflict diamonds’.

Diamonds from Sierra Leone by Kanye West Kanye West’s "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" could be a useful starter - students could try to spot the lyrics of the song included on the web page and interpret them:

"Little was known / of Sierra Leone / and how it connects to the diamonds we own / … Over here, it’s a drug trade /we die from drugs. / Over there, they die from what we buy from drugs. / The diamonds, the chains, the bracelets, the charmses / I thought my Jesus piece was so harmless / ’til I seen a picture of a shortie armless."

There is also an opportunity to contrast the lyrics with a poem from Sierra Leone. Click here to download the poem. Students could also follow up the enquiry by writing their own rap or poem about ‘conflict diamonds’.

For a more sophisticated and controversial starter, you could use the Interactive Whiteboard to show a short flash animation made by Amnesty International USA on the trade in conflict diamonds – see the right hand menu on

Christian Aid’s ‘mpower’ youth programme in partnership with CAFOD and SCIAF produced a two page PDF (Issue 42: Jewellery) that explores some of these issues with suggestions for classroom activities. Download it from Jewellery

Another site useful for research purposes is with detailed pages on how resources (including diamonds) have been used in conflicts in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

There is also potential to draw parallels with the exploitation of coltan, an essential raw material in mobile phones, laptops and Playstations. See the feature near the bottom of the page in Global Eye Autumn 2005 (click on the first image in ‘the chain’) that includes background to the coltan mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo, plus learning activities and links to other user-friendly sites.

Bling: Consequences and Repercussions
Download an 11 minute documentary, "Bling: Consequences and Repercussions" narrated by Chuck D (Public Enemy), and released as a feature length documentary in Autumn 2006. The film includes scenes of horrific violence – treat with extreme caution. Other information on the site could be downloaded separately as useful additional classroom material for the enquiry-based activity.

Watch out for a new film, ‘The Blood Diamond’ in which Leonardo de Caprio plays a smuggler of ‘conflict diamonds’ from Sierra Leone, albeit set in 1999 before the end of the civil war and before the implementation of the Kimberley Process to clean up the diamond trade. A scene in the 2002 James Bond film, "Die Another Day" also highlights ‘conflict diamonds’.

Cleaner Diamonds

Download the hard copy of the diamond ranking activity here.

For a more in-depth critique of the Kimberley Process designed to remove ‘conflict diamonds’ from the world market, download the November 2005 report produced by Global Witness: ‘Making it work: Why the Kimberley Process must do more to stop conflict diamonds’ from

Amnesty International (UK) produced a shopping guide on how to buy conflict-free diamonds to coincide with Valentines Day 2006. Download it here. Amnesty

On Camera

Survival International This activity uses images to focus on a Survival International campaign to prevent the eviction of the Kalahari Bushmen from their ancestral homeland to make way for a vast diamond mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana. Visit for news updates. The link to De Beers enables students to gain different perspectives on the issue.

Visit Survival International’s audio galleryfor a South African radio programme, "Iman stops working for De Beers: Channel Islam International" for an interview with a member of Survival International working on the Bushmen campaign. Visit the video gallery for a 14 minute feature from Newsnight, July 2005. You need Real Player to download these. The pages also link to the image gallery - well worth a visit too.

Survival International also produce resources for schools. The "We, the world" pack explores the stories and lives of four tribal children from Brazil, Congo, Siberia, and Botswana. Although written for a younger age group the pack could easily be adapted for use with key stage three classes. The pack aims to:

  • To teach young people about contemporary tribal peoples and some of the issues they face;
  • To promote intercultural tolerance and understanding;
  • To develop awareness among young people so that they can contribute to solving global problems.

You can order "We, the world" from:

Survival International
6 Charterhouse Buildings
London EC1M 7ET

T: 020 7687 8700
F: 020 7687 8701

Eye on The Lebanon

In February 2005, the BBC World Service broadcast a series of programmes with supporting online material entitled, "Young in the Arab world", including Lebanon. Parts of the Lebanon programme were used in the ‘Views on Beirut’ activity on the Rebuilding Beirut page. Visit for the full version and a chance to listen to the programmes (using Real Player).

Visit Global Eye Spring 2003 focusing on Saudi Arabia to contrast Lebanon with another country in the Middle East. Global Eye Spring 2003
The ‘Refugee Ratios’ activity on the Palestinians in Lebanon page uses data to introduce some of the issues behind the challenge some of the common misconceptions over the destinations of refugees, and how in fact it is mostly poorer countries that bear the relative burden in acting as hosts.

For easily downloadable material that challenges the myths surrounding refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, visit Refugee Action and the Refugee Council.

The ‘You have your Lebanon: Poetry in Exile’ activities feature an extract of a poem by Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931). Visit for another longer version. These activities encourage students to interpret Gibran’s prose and to develop some empathy for the lives of those who live in exile, or as refugees today.

Survival International Save the Children’s Eye to Eye project has a range of downloadable resources and images that explore issues surrounding Palestinian refugee children in the Middle East. The site also offers advice for how to tackle the sensitive, controversial subject matter in the classroom. One of very few sites for schools that looks at issues in the Middle East - highly recommended!

Some excellent ready-to-use activities that explore issues concerning migration, refugees and asylum seekers can be downloaded from the Key Stage 3 Geography Plus page of QCA’s Innovating with Geography site.

The Bekaa Valley page is a case study of agricultural change in Lebanon’s most important farming region. There is potential to link this with the dilemmas facing Colombia’s coca farmers that featured in Global Eye Autumn 2004.


Global Eye Secondary Spring 2006 was written by Simon Scoones for the Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers. Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers

Contributions and assistance from:
Ahmad Ahmad, Mo Alam, Dan Ellison, Abdu Ezzedine, Polly George, Sara Jones, Miten Shah, Rob Pitman, Isabel Mitchell & Phil Murwill (Amnesty International UK), Emily Slater (Save the Children), Bryony Cook & Miriam Ross (Survival International).

Abdu Ezzedine, Harris Mitchell/Global Witness, Panos Pictures, Rex Features, Save the Children, Simon Scoones, Survival International.

The author would like to dedicate this edition to the memory of Ali Ahmad.