cause on a string

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plastic.jpg Check out these bracelets featured on Great Green Goods, made in Ghana from recycled plastic. They’re right up there with the Ugandan paper beads made from old magazines on my list of favorite gifts-that-double-as-political-talking-pieces.

Which reminds me:

Last week I received another political bracelet, a string of Kenyan grass beads, as a party favor at a fancy gala. To make up for missing my birthday party, a friend rigged an invite for me as a “young leader” to this evening honoring dogooder causes. As a New Yorker and nonprofiteer, it’s not in me to turn down a free drink, let alone an open bar, so after work I threw on a party dress and caught a cab uptown to [an event venue I will not mention here for fear that my labor organizing friends might disown me].

The highlight, for me, was when someone announced that Russell Simmons was in attendance and the eighty-something woman to my right leaned over and asked her son if he was the one who got people moving. “No, that’s Richard,” replied the son.

I’ll spare you details on the speeches, except to share the bizarre and, I found, disturbing fact that the whole event was underwritten by a very large diamond company. Did I miss something, or now that Hollywood has condemned blood diamonds is it ok to fund nonprofit work via their sales?

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2 Responses to “cause on a string”

  1. kimberly Says:

    Yes, but no. I don’t have a link, but this was the header from today’s Global Development Briefing:

    ‘ “It’s either some colossal cluelessness or remarkable indifference to that reality that would somehow try to equate raising one’s hand with a diamond on it as a promotional counter-measure to the effect of the film.”

    — Edward Zwick, director of Hollywood film Blood Diamond, attacking a campaign to get film stars to display gems at awards events. The US diamond industry is donating USD 10,000 to African charities for each star raising a hand with a ring at events including the Oscars. Zwick, whose Africa-set film highlights the issue of illegal diamond profits funding wars, called the move a “charitable bribe” and “distasteful.” The World Diamond Council (WDC) said so-called “blood diamonds” made up less than 1 percent of new diamonds, compared with 4 percent in the late 1990s. Conflict diamonds have been linked to armed struggles in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the DRC (Congo) and the Central African Republic. ‘

  2. everydaytrash Says:

    Distasteful is right.

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