Africaís albinos being murdered, their limbs harvested for magic potions
By Sachin Seth
A lot of stories that come out of Africa, no matter how engaging or urgent, get swept under the mediaís rug. They get them, assess them and dismiss them.
Itís an obvious truth, most people know that a lot happens on the continent that doesnít get picked up or spotlighted. Hell, a lot happens in the U.S. that doesnít get spotlighted so why should we care, right?
In an age of western media where Archie marrying Veronica is a top story (I canít believe heís not choosing Betty!), there just isnít room for tales from the Dark Continent, even though they tend to sometimes be the most newsworthy international exposť.
But thatís OK right? I mean, who wants to hear about horrible, daunting and depressing news when you can read about a historically pimp redhead choosing the brunette with the trust fund? (Iím actually distraught over his choice.)
There obviously has to be some kind of balance, but when stories like the one Iím about to tell you come out, they deserve some attention, even if the next Archie comic development involves Jughead losing his legendary, bejeweled crown for good.
A whole area of the world is ignored and while the problem the people face can sometimes be overwhelming and hard for us to even comprehend, they are still real people, facing real problems and they deserve some real attention and aid.
That may sound hypocritical, since I donít talk about African news very much on Terra, or report on it very much for Blast. But weíve been trained by our media to ignore them because they seemingly always have some problem they need help with.
But those constant problems arise from their lack of global attention. In other words, they always have a problem because we ignore them. Itís become a vicious, ruthless cycle that is destined to continue repeating itself with no impending solution, just the looming possibility of it getting worse.
Itís hard to keep track of everything thatís going on the world. North Korea is losing its mind, Sri Lanka has been reduced to wasteland in some areas, Archie is marrying Veronica (Iím not letting that one go), and the U.S. has more crises than you can count on all fingers and toes.
Add another continent and the news landscape becomes too vast, and rightfully so. So itís understandable. But even if you donít read too much about the AIDS crisis, the genocide, the malaria, the new, stronger Ebola-like virus ďLujoĒ, or even the hunger; read this.
Forty-eight albino people have been killed in Tanzania over the last 18 months. No one has been convicted. The killings arenít random; these Albino people are not just a group caught in a mass genocide. Actually, it is believed by some that their body parts can be used to make magic potions more effective. The albinos must now live in constant fear of being slaughtered.
The violence isnít solely in Tanzania; last November a six-year-old girl was found dead in Burundi, the BBC reports. All her limbs and her head had been chopped off. Only her bloody torso was found.
In the same month, in Tanzania, two women were hacked with machetes after the attackers failed to find their true targets, children. One of the women was hiding in a refugee camp used to protect people with albinism from this kind of violence. The attackers were looking for her two-year-old child, planning to saw off the babyís limbs for a potion.
Eleven men have been accused, though none convicted. They were charged with murder and trafficking the limbs to potential buyers. The prosecution also claimed the men dug up buried albino people and harvested their bodies for limbs.
All charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.
Albinism affects just one in 20,000 people worldwide, though the number of albino people in Tanzania is much higher. Though only 4,000 people are registered as albinos in the country, the number is believed to be as high as 173,000, the BBC reports.
Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog.
Posted at 12:02 p.m. in: Opinion, Terra, The Blogs, The News Tags: africa, albino, death, lujo, media, tanzania