thinglets: Burundi Albino Boy Dismembered

It's been two years since I first found one of the most terrifying and bizarre stories I'd ever read or heard about. Everyone who follows my twitter feed knows that I'm a sucker for bizarre articles, but when I found a link appear in my newsfeed to Tanzania's Albino Genocide, I was immediately dumbstruck.

I don't know what inspired me to make a lovehatethings post out of it, but, in retrospect, the topic held some gravitas. To date, that initial post has been read over 23,000 times, and I've received numerous emails and comments about it. I've since maintained a bit of a watch on the subject of albinos in Burundi and Tanzania being slaughtered and dissected for parts because some witch doctors believe it is magic.

I still shake my head to this day.

I am not an albino, nor have I ever been to Tanzania or Burundi, nor do I have ANY tie whatsoever to the cultures involved suffice to say this: the human race is fucked up beyond belief when I'm still reading about ANY nine year-old being dismembered for ANY reason whatsoever.

This blog is often about pop culture minutiae and mindless drivel that sustains me from one day to the next. I am often loathe to be too serious, lest someone take me for someone who really gives a damn about hair care products, cereal boxes, Steve Jobs' foibles, or some new cool tilt-shift video clip from Vimeo. 

I am not often moved to violence, more prone to expressions of disbelief and frustration, so perhaps Bruce Cockburn best expresses what I'm thinking when I keep hearing stories like this for the ongoing lifetime of this blog. And perhaps, out of all the things I've claimed to hate, they all pale in comparison to this.

I want to raise every voice -- at least I've got to try.
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry.
If I had a rocket launcher... Some son of a bitch would die.

thinglets: Burundi Albino Killers Arrested

A couple of months ago I'd posted a link to a story that seemed absurd, incredible, and sickening. I couldn't believe, yet was struck, by a story describing Tanzania's witch doctors using the body parts of albinos in rituals to bring good fortune to patients... I suppose unless one's patient was an albino. That post became one of the most viewed posts I'd ever done surrounded by quirky views on cereal boxes, Sesame Street, Web 2.0 and popular media.

This follow-up story from Burundi shows that the practice is not limited to Tanzania, but at least, it seems, the authorities in Burundi are making arrests. Those charged, found with albino bones, have largely been middlemen harvesting bodies for profit.

"At least eight people have been arrested in Burundi in connection with a trade in human body parts from people with albinism. Those detained had fresh body parts in their possession, police say. Witchdoctors in the region tell clients that potions made with albino body parts will bring them luck in love, life and business."

That one of the comments on my post of a few months ago thanked me for helping to expose this story was shocking in that I would've guessed those concerned would find my idiotic ramblings anything but illuminating. If, for no other reason, that so many people seemed to get something from that post, I humbly offer up my outrage, my further incredulity, and my sympathy to those affected.

thinglets: Frog Genocide

If the stats developed by the UN are right, and the BBC hasn't misrepresented them at all, and I can wrap my head around this number, there are 1,000,000,000 (that's one billion folks) frogs culled to get to the world's plates every year:
"Frogs legs are on the menu at school cafeterias in Europe, market stalls and dinner tables across Asia to high end restaurants throughout the world," said Corey Bradshaw from Adelaide University in Australia.

 "Amphibians are already the most threatened animal group yet assessed because of disease, habitat loss and climate change - man's massive appetite for their legs is not helping."
Now while I don't want to even think about the numbers for chickens, cows, fish, or pigs, I've only got one thing to say. If you can watch Kermit sing "It's Not Easy Being Green" and ever want to eat a frog again, you have no heart... or you may be the Swedish Chef.