Around the World

Tanzania Albino Killings Brutalize Nation

Hallie Witwer
Unbelievably, in the country of Tanzania, people with Albinism are being brutally murdered due to the fact that their body parts are highly desired by the area witch doctors. The limbs and organs of Albinos are thought to bring good luck and wealth to those that consume them. Despite efforts to put a stop to these disturbing crimes, the lucrative trade is hardly letting up.

Since 2007, when the killings began, the total death count has grown to 57, with an additional six attempted murders that resulted in victims with their limbs cut off. Shockingly, only two cases have resulted with convictions of murders. With as horrifying as these crimes are, it appears that the efforts to bring them to a stop (or lack thereof) are hardly working.

Mariamu Stanford (pictured with ABC's Juju Chang) is one of the few who have managed to survive an attack. She was left without arms after being stormed by a group of men in the middle of the night. They told her they were going to cut off her arm and if she screamed they would take the other arm as well. As they began to remove the first arm she cried out, and they proceeded to do exactly as they threatened. Perhaps even more heartbreaking- she also lost her unborn child. She was five months pregnant.

Recently, Congressman Gerald Connolly, who is serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representative from Virginia’s 11th District, has been gaining support in an effort to get President Obama to place diplomatic pressure on the Tanzanian government to stop the killings. He hopes to increase awareness and education on the subject matter along the way. Hopefully our President will take notice, acknowledge the need to take swift action, and use the power our country has to put an end to these brutal and pointless killings.

What a different world we live in. Of course our nation, including our beloved Ohio, has its issues and crimes, but I can’t even begin to imagine having to wake up with a daily fear of having my life taken or my limbs cut off. A fear that for these Albanians in Tanzania is sadly completely rational. Let us pause for a moment and count ourselves lucky, for we know we are, and hope that one day these people will no longer have to live in terror.
* Image from Google Images