Where you die matters.
The title, though tongue in cheek is meant to be taken seriously.
Twenty people dying on the steps of the White House in the United States or 10 Downing Street, London, UK is likely to cause an immense uproar.
The likes of CNN, ABC, Sky News, and every little blogger or vlogger within ear and eyeshot of the event will be there. Speculation and supposition will be rife and the news will be repeated like a mantra until most people would have heard about it.
If the twenty people did not die as a result of a mass shooter, suddenly experts on airborne diseases, food inspectors, forensic pathologists and the head of the intelligence bureau would be talking about it and weighing in on why those people died.
Outside of these countries, people will be told to show solidarity by flying the flag of the countries affected and woe to you should you decide not to change your Facebook status or photo. Social media platforms such as Twitter will be abuzz and soon the deaths would go viral.
Not if you die in Africa though. Two thousand people can be gunned down along with innocent children, aptly named “insurgents” and maybe the two thousand will receive a mention on the third or fourth page of a newspaper.
It’s not newsworthy when Syrian children die. It’s not newsworthy when families are wiped out or villages are destroyed because where you die matters.
It’s “those” people that died at the hands of the army or terrorists. The mere mention of the primarily white bodies of those twenty people is enough for the countries and their allies to hold urgent meetings and strategize and mobilize so this never happens again. At least not in those countries.
In deep, dark, violent, poverty-stricken Africa? It’s acceptable. It’s acceptable when black and brown people die from hunger. After all, they should stop breeding, isn’t it? It’s also perfectly acceptable for companies to strip minerals from Africa and deliberately impoverish the people who it belongs to. It’s also perfectly acceptable for big corporations to open factories in impoverished African countries under the guise of “job creation” while paying their workers minimum wages. We need only look at Marikana.
Would this have been able to happen if this were The States or the United Kingdom?
Would we have illnesses that remain untreated by big corporations destroying our once beautiful and healthy environment?
I’d like to know the difference between the slaves of yesteryear and the black and brown people who are exploited and work for these slave wages, hoping to feed their families.
Twenty, Two hundred or Two thousand bodies lying dead in Africa is nothing. It is ultimately only Africa and Africans who don’t need the same respect and living wage or opportunity to thrive as their white counterparts. There is no value placed on black and brown bodies except to exploit.
There is no value placed on black and brown deaths simply because of where we died. No need for extensive investigations because there are so many of us or so we are led to believe.
Living in Africa is after all high risk and dying in Africa means one less mouth to feed.
Some Statistics for Africa:
Around 20 000 people were killed in Syria in 2018.
59 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 work instead of playing and going to school.
In sub-Saharan Africa, a shocking 28 million children are experiencing stunted growth due to malnutrition.
The national minimum wage of R20 per hour will be effective from January 1 2019.
Where you live and die matters!