Albinos in Africa: The White Face of Cruel Discrimination
It is extremely disastrous to know that not everyone living in the 21st century, is enjoying the advances of technology, opportunities of education, and the luxury to live a life without fear.
While many may think that the world is now a well-connected global village, the reality is different than what is imagined. There are many groups of people still living in a permanent state of inconceivable primitivism.
Our world becomes more cruel when it remains aligned with the superstitions and gauche religious practices that seek to justify the most bizarre and heinous human behaviors. One of the many cruelties that linger, in mankind’s recent history, is the horrific situation of being albino in various countries of Africa.
Africa is still plagued by delusional superstition in many of its cultures. One of the most astonishing of these superstitions is the brutal tradition and system of belief that encourages a non-human approach of a very human group, the albinos. This is a real human rights crisis of immeasurable proportions.
Albinism is a genetic condition, an alteration due to the absence or deficiency of melanin, a substance responsible for the pigmentation of skin, hair, and eyes. It is not a contagious condition, but a hereditary one. It occurs in both genders and in all ethnicities.
In Africa, many witch doctors disseminate the belief that albinos are cursed. At the same time, others believe their body parts contain magical energies. As a result, people suffering from this genetic condition are targeted as a prize for macabre rituals of human sacrifice.
Persecution of people with albinism may occur for different reasons. One misbelief widely promulgated by witch doctors, primarily in the African Great Lakes Region, is that certain body parts of albino people can transmit magical powers. These ‘healers’ happen to do a good trade in these body parts as aids for witchcraft rituals and potions, with claims that their magic will bring prosperity to the user. This practice is known as “muti,” or medicine murder.
As a result, people with albinism are persecuted, killed, and dismembered. The graves of albinos are dug up and desecrated. Witch doctors insist their sorcery is even more powerful if the victim screams during the rituals of amputation, and use this to justify cutting body parts while the victim is still alive.
Furthermore, people with albinism are a very vulnerable group of individuals, who have been ostracized and killed for exactly the opposite reason–because they are presumed to be cursed and bring bad luck. A group of albino limbs can be reach the price of $75,000. The most valuable body parts are the fingers, tongue, arms, legs, and genitals. Families of albinos, overwhelmed by despair, either abandon their children, or run away to the wilderness to hide.
People suffering from albinism have extra–sensitive, pale and fragile skin that makes them more prone to skin cancer. They can have light-sensitive eyes and fine hair. In any other part of the world, individuals suffering from albinism would be able to lead a normal life. This is not the case in Africa.