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Yellow Country (standard:Psychological fiction, 930 words)
Author: Aubrey CarterAdded: Nov 19 2004Views/Reads: 3334/2143Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A young girl who has been dreaming of the day she will receive her wedding ring her entire life finds out the truth about diamond mining.

Yesterday she found out where diamonds come from. 

She had always assumed that some day she would have a diamond on her
finger.  It was just a fact.  When a girl got engaged, her boyfriend 
knelt down and put a glittering diamond ring on her finger.  She had 
imagined it a thousand times.  He would have dark hair and be a little 
shy as he looked into her eyes and asked her to marry him.  The ring 
would be perfect and she would say yes and he would smile and tell her 
how much he loves her. 

When she turned 14, she had found an advertisement for her future
wedding ring. Nestled in sparkling white gold was a princess cut 
diamond that was shaped perfectly. She tore out the page, folded it 
carefully and tucked it away in her diary, which she kept hidden under 
her mattress.  Every day she would sit by her curtained window and 
daydream about that wonderful moment when a handsome young man would 
kneel at her feet and present her with a beautiful diamond ring. 

It was an accident, really.  Graduation was only a month away, and she
was working on the last paper she would have to write as a high school 
student.  The teacher had shown a map of Africa and instructed the 
students to pick the country they knew the least about.  The students 
were then told to research the country and find something interesting 
to write about. 

She had never heard of most of these countries, and decided to pick one
of the yellow ones because it had always been her favorite color. 
Sierra Leone was a bright yellow blob on the multi-colored map.  It was 
squished between a purple country and a green one, and bordered the 
ocean.  It looked small and had a funny shape.  She didn't imagine many 
people lived there. 

The night before the paper was due, she found herself at the library,
trying to decide what to write about. Teachers usually assigned a 
specific subject.  She wasn't used to choosing a topic. 

After reading for a few minutes about the country's exports, she found
that it contained vast diamond mines.  Her interest quickly perked.  
Diamonds, she thought.  Now that's interesting. 

It was only minutes before she stumbled across an article with gruesome
pictures of a deathly frail body.  The skeletal body belonged to a 
15-year-old boy in Sierra Leone named Jusu Lahia.  The article said he 
was a lieutenant in Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, and was 
wounded by an exploding rocket-propelled grenade. 

As she read on, she was shocked to discover the violence and bloodshed
that had been rampant in this little yellow country.  Children worked 
as slaves in the mines, and were forced to be soldiers in the tribal 
wars, fighting for control of the mines and the sparkling gems 
contained within. 

She found other news clippings which stated that profits from diamond
mines had been funding the actions of many of the world's terrorists 
for years. 

Her mind felt numb. People should know this, she thought.  Why doesn't
anyone know this?  She read everything she could find about the diamond 
mines in Africa.  She researched the cartel that had managed to 
monopolize the industry and drove prices far above what diamonds are 
actually worth.  She read all about the bloodshed and violence, the 
political scandals. She read about the inflated prices and the 
impossibility of selling a diamond once purchased.  She felt stupid and 
foolish as she read about the immense advertising campaigns which had 
successfully convinced the world that you aren't truly loved until you 
have a diamond on your finger. 

We've all been brainwashed, she thought. 

She quickly left the library and headed down the school's hallway. She
saw a biology teacher and glanced at the woman's left hand.  Though she 
wasn't surprised to see a large diamond ring attached to a carefully 
manicured finger, she was surprised to realize that she felt disgust 
for the woman.  She has no idea where that diamond came from, she 

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