From the hermetically sealed calm of this office the

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Unformatted text preview: ers and battered, low-slung cars honk their horns at hawkers of peanuts, pineapples and bright plastic rucksacks. Inside the passage, the lift broke down long ago. To reach the office you must climb seven dark flights of narrow steps, which stink of stale urine. And then, upstairs, a bright new world unfurls. Behind thick steel doors, and watched by security cameras, is harmony in black leather and chrome. A receptionist speaks through bullet-proof glass via a telephone system. She accepts business cards through an electronicall y operated slot in the counter. At the touch of a button, she unlocks what looks like a decompression cell to admit the visitor to the waiting room, a chamber which is also overlooked by video cameras. From the hermetically sealed calm of this office, the men from De Beers are on a mission to impose order on the chaos of the Angolan diamond fields. So far, they have had to keep running just to stay still. In the diamond valleys of the remote north-east, UNITA guerrillas still control many of the richest di amond deposits. There, gar...
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