Today is the day, historically, that people put aside to celebrate love & affection. As I took a moment to look up what it really is about, I learned, in fact, that there was more than one Saint Valentine Christian martyr! I learned the day itself became established in 496 A.D. however, it did not gain it's romantic association until about the 14th century.
Each of us, now, have our own special traditions that we may like to uphold on V-day. Be it chocolate! Cards, flowers etc. This is the day for warm fuzzies, right? Thankfully, neither my husband or myself hold to any high expectations for this day. Phew - pressure's off! Why limit your love to one day, eh? ;) My kids dutifully made a valentine for each of their classmates & I dutifully helped them affix a foil wrapped chocolate heart to each one. (Which I very carefully removed later that night as I realized the chocolates were not made in a nut free facility - drat!). Now what do I do with them??
One of the hugely popular gifts every Valentine's is jewelery. And often that means the type that involves diamonds - the precious stone associated with L'Amour.
I was directed, this morning, to a movie I've not seen (but now have on hold). It's called 'Blood Diamond' and stars our dear friend Leonardo D. While the story itself is fictional, it is one of those bits that is based on enough of a factual setting that it can really count as sort of an educational flick. Many aspects of the conflict in the DRC DO boil down to it's natural resources. 30% of the world's diamond resources exist in this country in Africa and things ARE ugly as different groups each want to benefit by tapping this resource.
The UN is not unaware of the diamond acquisition process that exists in some parts of the world and a certification called "The Kimberley Process" was established in 2003 to prevent diamond sales through rebellious movements. The certification aims at preventing blood diamonds from entering the main market. It was set up to assure consumers that by purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and abuse to humans.
In 2004, the Republic of Congo had certification removed because it was found unable to prove the origin of its gems, most of which were believed to have come from the neighboring DRC. And while it was reinstated in 2007, opinions hold that the Kimberley Process is unable to enforce their own rules and hold countries accountable. Things like the process are a start, consumer awareness is a critical next step.
So I look down at the ring on my left hand. I do wish I knew then what I know now. I didn't though and I'm not going to beat myself up over it, nor am I going to remove my ring (actually, I don't think I could if I tried - 3 kids later, I think it is stuck). But my goal is to take what I'm learning and apply it to how I chose to move forward. So, now I know!