‘How Dare We Expect A Diverse Country Like India To Accept People Who Look Different?’

Dear Indians,

As African students in India, waking up in the morning to see the face of a fellow African smeared in red is heartbreaking and unforgivable, but expected. We live our days knowing that if not today but tomorrow the name of an African will be in the news or on the net, and not for something positive. We are constantly branded as ‘violent’, ‘immoral’, thieving druggies who are here to ‘corrupt’ and ‘taint’ your children and societies. But my favourite is hafsi i.e. a cannibal- something I am repeatedly accused of being, on a daily basis.

The situation that began on Friday, March 24, at Greater Noida is another example of an escalating situation that exists mainly because of the fear of outsiders in India. It reflects not only on the pure unadulterated hatred directed towards Africans from uninviting and close minded Indians but also the inherent racial, tribal and caste segregation that has existed long before we came to this country.

Whenever assaults like these happen, I’ve come to expect the reoccurrence of one question: Why did you come to India, then? As if somehow upon answering this question we will realize that it was our fault for thinking the country of Gandhi would behave any other way. That how dare we expect the world’s largest democratic secular diverse country to accept people who don’t look like them?

The attack against four Nigerian nationals, the latest in attacks that have been happening since November 2013 – just 2 months after I started my first year – shows that it takes a blind blanket target on all African’s in Noida NCR to get the attention of lawmakers and law enforcement; and proves that enough hasn’t or isn’t being done to eradicate the many issues plaguing foreigners.

So as I hide away in my house, I would like to congratulate every Indian who has ever been threatened by the sight of an African, and thought to wipe us out would be a civic service – you have won. And most of us won’t be returning. The same way once upon a time you feared for the safety your parents, children, siblings, friends etc. in Australia (and other nations), now our parents, children, siblings and friends fear for our lives. And don’t worry we won’t retaliate against the Indians living peacefully in our continent, not because we aren’t angry enough to also take up arms but because we believe in the beauty of diversity and practice it. We also know not to blame India and all Indians for the actions of a few, however, the actions of a few affects the lives of many.

P.S. On behalf of many African’s we thank and appreciate the support of those who stood with us in solidarity.

Yours sincerely,
An African.

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