So, you have probably heard of that parody version of the New York Times the infamous Yes Men gave out recently in Times Square (of all places). Well, they went full tilt and put up a website for it, too:

If you're not aware, the Yes Men are high-end pranksters that don't just play dumb jokes on people, they play jokes on entire corporations. Democracy Now's Amy Goodman reported on the Yes Men's NYT parody last week, explaining that "One previous prank had a Yes Men member posing as a Dow Chemical
spokesperson to announce responsibility for the Bhopal chemical
disaster, forcing the company to remind the world it had done anything


Obviously, I dig these guys. They've got a movie and a book that goes into more detail regarding their activities, so I'll stick to the depressing stuff.

While their humor is pretty much brilliant (and a little dry--they way I like it), one of the sharper jabs I'm sure got missed by most folks checking out the was the ad for De Beers diamonds. This was great--it promised that "Your purchase of a diamond will enable us to donate a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in the diamond conflicts. De Beers. From her fingers to his."

Zowee. See, what corporations do (this is true of other corps, not just De Beers) is go into 3rd world nations and effectively bribe the governments into letting them take most of a particular resource and most of the profits made from that resource, as well. The people of the country see little or no change in their standard of living and in the case of the the diamond conflict, were caught in the middle. Rebels rose up against governments and tried to convince locals to work with them, not the government. According to Amnesty International, Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front's "signature tactic was amputation of civilians: Over the course
of the decade-long war, the rebels have mutilated some 20,000 people,
hacking off their arms, legs, lips, and ears with machetes and axes."

AA also reports: "People had their hands chopped off by RUF units and were sent wandering hopelessly to spread the message of terror."

Weee! God damn! Is greed a horrible thing, or what? Those rebels may have represented the interest of the people in wanting their piece of the diamond pie (like Alaskans get of the Alaskan oil pie) but the RUF and all others in positions of power took things way too far. You may feel the urge to suggest that De Beers has "got the right to make a living" but can you say that when other people are dying for that living? Or are being horribly mutilated?

The selling of high end gems taken from mines in countries where poverty is rampant is unfair, cruel and just plain shitty.

When are we going to start talking about greed being reeeeally bad? When is De Beers going to start talking about making up for their greed?

Well, thanks to the Yes Men, they might just have an opportunity to be guilted into doing it right now.

Don't buy diamonds. They're pretty, but pricey in more ways than you probably want to consider.

Posted by email from thepete's posterous