Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Issues facing albinos


Ambivalence and ambiguity of a white child born by two black parents fuel occult beliefs and practices. In most cases the mother is held responsible for the sickness. “She is accused of having slept outside in a forbidden place or of being unfaithful to her husband,” explained Fabéré Sanon, president of the Burkina Faso based association for albinos (ANIPA) to

Albinos are often believed to have evil or good powers. “They have supernatural strength, can predict the future or have spells to bring sorrow or wealth,” continues Mr. Sanon. In best cases people offer gifts to the albinos. “People used to follow me to offer me gifts hoping it would bring them good luck, I always refused,” recalls Korotomi Traoré, a young Burkinabe who arrived in France four years ago and part of the French association for albinos called Genespoir .

Unfortunately, many albinos are wanted for human sacrifices, promising enrichment or social elevation. “During elections, albinos are the targets of candidates. We have to stay home during these periods,” recounts Fédéré Sanon. “Albinos are no longer perceived as men but as sacrificial lambs wanted for their heads or their genitals, considered as the body’s strongest parts,” he adds.

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