Aug 11, 2010

Dirty Little Pebbles

Something weird happened in the world this week. The ongoing trial of Charles Taylor at The Hague was thrust into the centre of the news. Twitter was ablaze, as were the 24-hour bottom feeding cable news networks. Everyone wanted to be the first to report on the breaking news. So, exactly what happened to remind us of this trial that has been going for three years and counting?

Oh, that would be testimony of some supermodel named Naomi Campbell. Huh? What insights could this vapid woman, notoriously known for her physical altercations with assistants, have to share about the workings of Charles Taylor and the civil war he helped fuel in Sierra Leone?  Well apparently she received a satchel of “dirty little pebbles” from Taylor. If it turns out that the dirty pebbles are indeed rough cut diamonds, this contradicts Taylor’s long standing denial of ever having possessed diamonds.

To add more fanfare, Mia Farrow and Campbell’s former agent also provided testimony about a clandestine meeting in the middle of night during which the stones were delivered, and how Campbell herself bragged about receiving a “huge” diamond from Taylor. But of course the silly little twit had no idea who Taylor was at the time or where the pebbles could possibly have come from...

...Does your head hurt yet? Mine does!

I think it’s incredibly telling that it’s taken the testimony of a model, an actress, and a former agent to cast light on this trial. Many have forgotten the civil war in Sierra Leone and the role the blood diamonds played - the world seemingly moved on. Well, sure we had Leonardo DiCaprio remind us a few years ago with his blockbuster movie on this same topic but it looks like Hollywood may have delivered the coupe de graĉe. 

The world suddenly cares again the role of minerals in conflicts and the taint it’s left on our world (read Africa) or maybe we’re just gawking at Campbell expecting her to rip off her weave in a fit of rage and go after the prosecutor with her iPhone?

Will this week’s testimony give the prosecution the much needed evidence to finally start closing the chapter on Charles Taylor and his blood soaked hands? If it does, I can see it now – “Tyra Banks starring as Naomi Campbell in Dirty Little Pebbles: How I took down Charles Taylor, the Naomi Campbell Story”.  

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