chapter  8
20 Pages

Fatal Transactions

ByPhilippe Le Billon

In 1999, European advocacy groups launched an international campaign calling for consumers “not to support terror.”1 is Fatal Transactions campaign denounced the trade of “conict diamonds” nancing wars in Angola and Sierra Leone, or “terror diamonds” funding Al Qaeda. By superimposing the amputated limbs of war victims on diamond-ringed ngers of brides, or pricing diamonds in deaths rather than dollars, Fatal Transactions campaigners conveyed a powerful message: consuming is killing. Faced with the threat of massive nancial losses through a diamond boycott, major diamond industry interests nally acknowledged the problem aer years of neglecting or denying the role of the diamonds trade in funding conicts. To avoid a boycott, the industry stressed that most of the trade had no blood on its hands, that millions of jobs and entire economies were at stake, and that a diamond certication system could remove conict diamonds from the legitimate diamonds trade.