INDEPENDENT NEWS

Bushmen appeal to Leonardo DiCaprio

Published: Tue 19 Sep 2006 10:43 AM
Bushmen appeal to Leonardo DiCaprio
The Kalahari Bushmen of Botswana have made a desperate appeal for help to Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in the forthcoming film 'The Blood Diamond'. The appeal appears today as a full-page advert in Variety magazine.
The Bushmen have also sent a letter to Leonardo. Bushman Roy Sesana writes, 'Friends have told us that you are in a film, 'The Blood Diamond', which shows how badly diamonds can hurt. We know this. When we were chased off our land, officials told us it was because of the diamond finds.
'Please help us, Sir. We know you are a famous and respected man, and that if you speak up for us many people will listen. We just want to go home, and hunt and gather and live in peace like we have always done.'
The Botswana government has brutally evicted the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from their land in the Central Kalahari, and De Beers diamond company is exploring for diamonds there. The Bushmen are calling for a boycott of De Beers and Botswana diamonds until they are allowed back on their land.
Actors Colin Firth and Julie Christie have already spoken out in support of the Bushmen. Julie Christie said today, 'Diamonds as the cause of misery and suffering are not a thing of the past. The Bushman evictions in Botswana are a clear demonstration that local people are still suffering because of these stones.'
Survival's Director Stephen Corry said today, 'The Gana and Gwi now face total extinction as peoples, not from war, but from being robbed of their land. It's horrific that this can happen in the 21st century. For this reason people increasingly view De Beers's Botswanan gems as conflict diamonds.'
The Gana and Gwi Bushmen's organization First People of the Kalahari launched their own website earlier this month: www.iwant2gohome.org
ENDS

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