The government of Botswana seems determined to remove the Kalahari Bushmen from land that de Beers wants to mine. The question is: can a growing alliance of activists, NGOs and public figures stop this atrocity? Here is the latest from Survival International which champions the cause of indigenous people around the world and has done much to bring this situation into the mainstream media.
In the same week that the Kalahari Bushmen of Botswana have made a desperate appeal for help to Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in the forthcoming film 'The Blood Diamond', by placing a full-page advert in Variety magazine, Survival International, on behalf of the Bushmen, has urged supermodel Linda Evangelista to step down as the new face of De Beers, and Mohamed Al Fayed not to allow De Beers to open a concession in Harrods.
The dispute centers around Botswana, where the government has brutally evicted the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from their land in the Central Kalahari, and where De Beers is exploring for diamonds. Since being moved to relocation camps many of the Bushmen have died, and many are suffering from alcoholism, TB, and HIV / AIDS. The Bushmen have called for a boycott of De Beers and Botswana diamonds until they are allowed back on their land.
Survival has had much success in the past with both supermodels Iman and Lily Cole stepping down as the faces of De Beers over the plight of the Bushmen, and with Erin O'Connor stating that she would make a stand and not want to become the face of De Beers.
Actors Colin Firth and Julie Christie have already spoken out in support of the Bushmen. Julie Christie said, 'Diamonds as the cause of misery and suffering are not a thing of the past. The Bushman evictions in Botswana are a clear demonstration that local people are still suffering because of these stones.'
Survival's Director Stephen Corry said today, 'The Gana and Gwi now face total extinction as peoples, not from war, but from being robbed of their land for diamonds. It's horrific that this can happen in the 21st century. For this reason people increasingly view De Beers's Botswanan gems as conflict diamonds.'