June 13 is International Albinism Awareness Day. It is an important day to close the gaps of ignorance that surround albinism in some people’s minds. Albinism is a genetic disease characterized by a defect in melanin production.
Unfortunately, albinos continue to face severe discrimination. This is precisely the meaning of the theme of the day: “United to make our voices heard” The voices of albinos are still denied in several places of the world, especially in Africa. The sum of their suffering is appallingly unspeakable.
Just for the difference in their skin, albinos already affected by health problems inherent in their condition, must suffer rejection and discrimination from some people. The situation is more serious in Africa. Erroneous conceptions make albinos look like geniuses, beings apart from which certain parts of the body have mystical properties. Albino ritual crimes are legion on the black continent. In Tanzania, for example, they can be hunted like animals, hunted to satisfy the organ needs of some filthy fetishers. In 2008, a 13-year-old albino girl was killed in South Africa by young people whose fetish had asked for albino body parts. And these are not isolated examples.
In society, the lives of these people are not easy. Almost nothing is planned to help them to take care of themselves medically or to facilitate their professional integration. Even though some albino advocacy associations fight on a daily basis, their efforts are still very thin. It takes strong state involvement to make a difference.
It is obvious. Albinos are men in their own right. Their humanity should not be denied for any reason. To reject them, to hate them and to discriminate against them simply because they are albino is an aberration. June 13 deserves to be better known and celebrated. African governments would do well to furnish it with actions to change and improve the lives of our albino counterparts. The establishment of a legal protection framework would be of great assistance to them.
It is the right of albinos to live free and happy in this world with the same chances as everyone else. Simply because they are men like us. And we have to understand that once and for all.