Plight of albinos should shame us to the core

East African Published on 22/08/2010

In an editorial on Friday, this newspaper called on President Kibaki to urgently sign the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Bill 2010 into law, and give legal teeth to efforts at countering the growing trafficking of human beings in the country.

But signing the Bill into law is just the easy part. As anyone who attended the press conference organised by the Albinism Society of Kenya can testify, eliminating the cruelty and prejudice albinos face in our society, and ultimately the rest of East Africa, must start in the heart.

The arrest and subsequent jailing of a Kenyan, Mr Nathan Mutei, by a court in Tanzania is a shame on our country.

At what point did we lose our humanity that we regard anyone who looks even slightly different from the majority as a lesser being? Albinos deal with prejudice every waking day of their lives, and perhaps even in sleep. Just being in public is a nightmare for most. Kenya has the highest percentage of literate people in East Africa, but this has not eliminated ignorance.

The silly and futile belief that sacrificing albinos brings good luck, has led to their being hunted down, killed and their body parts sold to witchdoctors.

It is easy to pass on the burden of responsibility in ending this horrific and beastly trade to the Government and police, but that will not make it go away.

GENETIC DEFECT

 

We must stand up to be counted among the defenders of this endangered minority, whose only ‘crime’ is that they lack the ability to make enough melanin to turn their skins ebony.

Albinism is due to a genetic defect that exists in a percentage of any sample of the population, and has nothing to do with black magic or sorcery. Albinos have no supernatural abilities, and to believe otherwise is foolish.

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