Dear Mob, What Makes You Think Africans Are Cannibals?

Posted by Soma Basu in Human Rights, Society
March 28, 2017

March 28, 2017: Mob violence against African nationals in Greater Noida. Several people were attacked. A woman of African nationality was allegedly taken away in a car and was later found brutally beaten up.

May 28, 2016: Two women and four men of African nationality were attacked by a mob in Chhatarpur area of New Delhi.

May 27, 2016: A 23-year-old Nigerian student, Kazeem, beaten up with iron rods over parking issue in Hyderabad.

May 21, 2016: A 29-year-old citizen of Congo, Masonda Ketada Olivier, was beaten to death and his head was smashed with a stone.

January 2016: A 24-year-old Tanzanian woman stripped and beaten up by a mob, her car torched in Bengaluru.

September 2015: A 23-year-old Congolese student was tied to a pole and beaten up.

March 2015: Four Cote D’Ivoire nationals – David, Sako, Merveil, Abdel – were beaten up in Bengaluru.

January 2014: Four women – two Ugandan and two Nigerian – were forced to give urine samples in public in Khirki Extension, Delhi. Mob barged into homes of African nationals and manhandled them. The ‘raid’ was allegedly carried out on behest of former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti.

November 2013: Nigerian national Obado Uzoma Simeon was stabbed to death in Goa.

July 2013: A 44-year-old Chad national attacked by drunken men in Hennur, Karnataka.

2012: Burundi national, Yannick Nihangaza, was beaten up brutally and left to die on the roadside in Jalandhar.

2010: Body of Tanzanian national, Imran Mtui, was found beheaded near railway tracks in Bengaluru. His arm had been slit open.

How many more horrific attacks on the lives and property of African nationals will it take for Sushma Swaraj, our revered external affairs minister, to admit that these attacks stemmed out of the deep racism that Indians suffer from. Where is our home minister, Rajnath Singh?

When we cry hoarse about racist attacks on Indians in the US or Australia or anywhere else in the world, we should at least introspect a bit and see how we treat our visitors or Athithis that our scriptures say are akin to gods. Does the famous saying – Athithi Devo Bhav – ring a bell? No? Too bad, Sanskriti walon.

What else can you expect from the citizens of a country that don’t treat their own people with respect; who call the people of the eight states (with a total population of 45,587,982) “Chinki” and then raise a storm if China shows Arunachal as a part of its territory?

So, even though we wear our historical struggle for freedom like a badge of honour on no-matter-how-many-inches chest, deep down we are no better than a power-hungry bunch of jerks who want to establish our supremacy over everything and everybody. Worse, hide behind mobs to bully people.

I know what mob violence means. I, along with 20 other colleagues, was attacked by a mob of 400 junior doctors in Kolkata. They were angry at the media because we had been reporting about the death and suffering of patients in the wake of the strike they had called. I know what it means when every person in a mob feeds off the frustration, insecurity from one another and turns into an unstoppable beast. That is the one chance they get to vent all that is pent up inside, no matter how irrelevant it is to the issue, on the person who is not a part of the mob. I have seen the animosity of that all. Three journalists were grievously injured in that attack and a woman journalist had her clothes torn. This is exactly why I was so worked up to see about 30 people beating up an African national in Ansal Plaza last night.

How exactly can we justify a mob attack? That too on people who do not belong to this country, who do not look like us, who do not ascribe to our ideas, who we are completely ignorant of.

Dear mob,

What are these labels that you are so loose with? Chakka, Madrasi, Chinki, Firangi, Gora, Habshi. You know what? If you don’t know a fig about Transgender people, if you don’t know that the southern part of India has four states and Madras is now Chennai, and in the state called Tamil Nadu, if you don’t know that North East has eight states, a rich biodiversity and is one of the richest regions in terms of linguistics, or that Cannibalism is not restricted to a region or community, it’s your problem – not theirs. Educate yourself instead of taking up arms against people who have come to your country or state in search of better education and opportunities, have families back home, and are as much human as you and me.

I first learned the word ‘Habshi‘ from my mother who told me bedtime stories about how they eat people, especially kids. I had also seen several movies in which tribals (always, always black) are shown carrying tourists/scientists/hero/heroin (always, always white) on a stake to be cooked in a large cauldron somewhere in the middle of a forest in a ceremony presided over by the ugliest of them all. These scenes ended with somebody with superhuman abilities (again a white hero) rescuing the victim and killing all the tribals. I understand now how deeply problematic all that was.

But, did you take all that seriously? Did you learn that African people eat humans up because shitty movies and illustrated children’s storybooks told you so? Grow up and behave yourself!

Use your expensive mobile phones, and google a bit about it. Inform yourself. I am sure it’s easier than beating people up, or it is that you have started enjoying the violence? Admit it, did you not feel good beating innocent people, who had nothing to do with the student who died of a drug overdose?

Hey, and don’t forget, the people you are hounding, chasing, beating up, stripping and molesting come from a group of countries in Africa. Yes! Africa is a continent, not a country. Google that too. And when you are googling, also search for millions of Indians living on African soil, and some of them work for companies that are doing nasty business, leeching the African countries of its natural resources.

So, sit tight people, educate yourself, stop glorifying violence and stop defacing your country if you care so much about it!

PS: Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh, for god’s sake, stop asking people to shake hands and forget. You are not headmaster or headmistress of a school.

Featured photo credit: Mondialement Tchendje Label/Facebook