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Under the Same Sun - A site out to fight the cause of the Albinos

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Mariam Stanford’s Double Tragedy

Mariam Stanford is the albino whose arms were chopped off by her neighbour (together with his accomplices) recently in Ngara District in Tanzania.

She was six months pregnant at the time tragedy struck. I remember in the days that followed this “heinous crime”, when still in hospital, she had been appealing to well wishers to help her take care of her unborn child when it was eventually born. She knew it would be close to impossible to take care of her unborn child (when it was born) as she does not have hands.

But alas, apparently she will not be in need of anyone to take care of her unborn child. She has lost her child through a miscarriage. Quite unfortunate and cruel.

Mariam has gone through a lot of heartache. This is clearly a traumatizing period in her life and that of her family. Thousands of other albinos in Tanzania have their own versions of the trauma that they have had to contend with since this violence against them started. This is a really difficult period for them.

Concrete action, and not just mere words of threat against the perpetrators of the violence, needs to be taken (and fast!).

Meanwhile :
The authorities have barred journalists and media practitioners from interviewing Mariam at her hospital bed for fear that the media will paint a gloomy picture of the whole affair thus blow things (the plight of albinos in Tanzania) out of proportion.

I can’t help but wonder what the authorities in Tanzania take journalists for: A bunch of people who don’t know what they are doing; professionals who are not guided by codes of ethics thus they can write and say anything just anyhow; people who are less human thus they have little or no respect for human suffering; people who don’t know what to report and what to give weight to in a story. I wonder.

I also question the authorities’ decision to deny the general public an insight into the story by barring the media from getting information from the horse’s own mouth.

Being a journalist myself I know that this is not fair to the general populace for journalism’s first obligation is to the truth and its first loyalty is to the citizens.

The Society of Professional Journalists believes that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.

Can justice be seen to have been done? This is a clarion call to you, Sirs…

Four cops nabbed in Shinyanga over albino killings

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