• 프린트
  • 메일
  • 스크랩
  • 목록
  • 글자크기
  • 크게
  • 작게

367. Albino’s Arm for a Lucky Charm?

Jang, Min-young 기자2017.09.07 02:59:46





Human rights in history have been achieved by blood and tears. Memories of slavery, the Holocaust, and many other dark incidents constantly remind us never to repeat such misery. Despite constant reflection and the passing of time, human rights are still being abused. Some people with albinism live in fear, as their body parts are hunted for witchcraft.


What is Albinism?

Albinism is a congenital pigment deficiency disorder that limits the body’s ability to process melanin. The disorder affects about one in 20,000 people worldwide and is more prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, affecting one in 1,400 Tanzanians. Melanin deficiency causes vulnerability to sun damages which lead to vision impairment or a higher possibility of developing skin cancer, especially in the countries with warmer climates. Standing Voice states that about 98% of Tanzanian albinos die from skin cancer before they reach the age of 40. Such threats, however, can be managed through efforts such as wearing sunglasses or minimizing the exposure to sunlight.

Superstition Driven Discrimination

Despite the fact that the disorder is not contagious, is not associated with brain function, and is not a curse, some people with albinism are discriminated against due to the poor level of awareness in many African societies. Insufficient awareness results in deeper discrimination, such as isolation and segregation in public services, education and healthcare. Their body parts are regarded as being magical, bringing good luck or curing diseases. It is even believed by some that AIDS can be cured by sleeping with a woman with albinism. Inhumane attacks on albinos are driven by these superstitions that pervade sub-Saharan Africa.

The Truth about Crimes toward Albinos

In such communities, many albino babies are killed at birth, and survivors endure years of abuse. Albinos’ body parts are sold at prices ranging from $2,000 for a limb to $75,000 for a corpse. This high profit lures impoverished people to commit dreadful crimes. The body parts when sold are mostly made into medicine that supposedly cures diseases. Emmanuel Rutema, a 15-year-old victim, lost one arm and all the fingers of the other hand. His attackers also attempted to remove his tongue and teeth. Most victims are traumatized and frightened of the outside world. During the last two years 65 attacks, 47 abduction attempts and 13 murders have been reported in Malawi alone. The UN reports that the actual number of casualties is estimated to be higher since most attacks are done in secret.

Making Changes for a Better World

In March, 2017, four albino Tanzanian children arrived in the U.S. to receive new prosthetic arms provided by Global Medical Relief Fund, a New York-based charity. Under The Same Sun provides albinos with education in a safe environment. The charity has educated 400 students since 2010 and yielded 85 graduates. It also offers visual aids, skin care treatment, safe house, and counselling.

While many charities provide aids directly to people with albinism, some focus on reducing discrimination by correcting misunderstandings about albinism. Candice Mwakalyelye, an albino woman, claims that educating people about albinism will be the key to reducing discrimination. She explains that growing up in Zimbabwe, she was never treated differently from other children until she moved to Tanzania and heard someone shouting ‘muzungu [white person].’ Fabio Lepore exposed the cruel reality through creating a documentary, “Jolibeau’s Travels,” and said that it “must be told, told and told again.” Furthermore, Yulia Taits captures the beauty of people with albinism through photography. Despite the fact that she is not an activist, her photographs offer a great opportunity for correcting misconceptions. She has said, “There’s no denying people with albinism look different. But it’s this difference that makes them beautiful. 


Shedding constant light on the problem is the key to bringing individuals to a realization: a realization that people with albinism are the same as everyone else and deserve their rights. From this recognition changes can begin and from the little changes a better world can arise. 


  • 이 기사를 공유해보세요  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •    
  • 맨 위로