Please sign our petition

Please sign our petition

Twentieth Century Fox’s film, “The Heat,” starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, contains numerous derogatory comments and jokes about a character with albinism.  These lines perpetuate harmful myths about and stigmatizing attitudes toward PWA.  Please visit the petition for more information by clicking on “Please sign our petition” in pink above.  If you agree, please sign and share.  Thanks!

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NEW Video Posted! “La Difference” music video by Salif Keita

Salif Keita is a singer from Mali, West Africa.  He has albinism and sings about it in this music video for the song, “La Difference.”  Even if you don’t understand French, it is worth a listen and a view:)

Click here to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTByvmSKjz4&ob=av2n

*NEW* Video Posted – “Africa Investigates – The Spell of the Albino”

This episode of Africa Investigates tells the story of young Adam, whose father sold him to albino hunters, and follows a reporter as he goes undercover to confront witch doctors who encourage the use of albino body parts.

Thanks to Under the Same Sun for posting this video to their Facebook page.

Click on the link to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVAyFlVw_e8 

You can always find this and other videos on the lower right side of this homepage, under Videos.

NEW VIDEO: “WHAT CAN I SEE?”

I’ve just posted a new video called “What Can I See?”  It is an informative and beautifully-produced short on Youtube. 

Low vision is one element of the health condition albinism, and in this video, made by a person with albinism, you can get an idea of what a person with albinism sees, or doesn’t. 

Go to the Videos section on the lower right-hand side of this page and click on “What Can I See?”  Post a comment if you can.

NEW Video posted!

A poignant and very well-produced video just under 10 minutes in length is now posted to the Videos section (lower right of the screen, under “Pages” then “*Videos”).  Its title is Zeru Zeru the Ghost.  Zeru Zeru means ghost in Kiswahili, and that is what people with albinism in Tanzania are often called, a reference to the superstitious belief that people with albinism are not really people at all, but rather ghosts.  This de-humanizing concept likely contributes to an acceptance of violence against the population, even though one can see that the violent acts do cause death.  A complex situation, this video is a fine protrayal of the problem.  Watch it, and feel free to post to Facebook to spread the word.

Check out the latest issue of Under the Same Sun’s Newsletter!

I’ve just added the most recent issue of Under the Same Sun’s newsletter about their work with people with albinism in Tanzania as a Documents page to this site.  Access it under Pages, Documents on the lower right of the screen.

Let me know what you think!

Deadly Violence Against People with Albinism in Tanzania

Beginning in approximately 2007, people with the medical condition albinism have been hunted for their body parts in areas of rural Tanzania.  Although no one is quite sure what sparked this wave of terror at that particular point in time, the reasons for its occurrence are the local superstitious beliefs that albino body parts impart good luck and riches, the exploitation of these beliefs by a number of local witch doctors, and the vast sums of money that can be made in this black market trade.  Some body parts fetch as much as several thousand dollars.  They are sold whole, in potions, and in amulets, and albino hair is sold particularly to local fishermen who use it as part of the twine of their nets believing it will ensure a copious catch.  Since this rash of violence began, more than 50 Tanzanians with albinism, as young as infants, have been mercilessly slaughtered to death, with others left as traumatized amputees.  It is believed that the true number of victims is actually higher than this reported figure.  The local belief that albinos do not die, but rather just fade away, seems to indicate that they are not viewed as human, which presumably would make it more acceptable to commit such atrocities against them.  

Albinism is an incurable, inherited, genetic condition that results in a lack of the pigment melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes causing skin to be chalky white, eyes to be very light in coloring, and hair to be fair.  This lack of pigment causes people with albinism to have virtually no protection from the sun’s harmful rays, which in Africa is a particularly difficult problem to have, and can cause easy blistering, burning, and skin cancer.  A person with albinism will generally also have low vision and other eye problems.  Although the incidence of albinism is as low as 1 in 20,000 in the United States, for example, it is markedly more prevalent in areas of Africa.  In Tanzania, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 3,000 [1] have this disorder.

Please take a look at some of the resources on this blog, including videos that provide more information on this problem.  There’s an interesting episode of 20/20 that reports on the violence in Tanzania and also includes profiles of some Americans with albinism.

Thanks for stopping by, and please do not hesitate to contact me with comments and questions.

Peace.


[1] Statistics from  http://law.vanderbilt.edu/article-search/article-detail/index.aspx?nid=300

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