“New Delhi/Greater Noida, India - After a year in India, Zaharaddeen Muhammed, 27, knows enough Hindi to understand what bander means. Monkey.
But it isn’t even the daily derogatory comments that make him doubt his decision to swap his university in Nigeria for a two-year master’s degree programme in chemistry at Noida International University. Nor is it the questions about personal hygiene, the unsolicited touching of his hair or the endless staring. It is his failure to interact with Indian people on a deeper level.
“People often look at me as if I am different, and hard to be trusted,” the tall, softly spoken student explains. “I try to be friendly. I speak Hindi and always laugh. But when I offer biscuits to the neighbours’ children, they don’t accept.”
After a year, one of Zaharaddeen’s biggest wishes remains unfulfilled: to be invited to an Indian wedding.
“I am a big fan of Bollywood,” he explains about why he wanted to come to India. “I did not come for the school because there are enough good universities back home. But I wanted to learn about this other culture and interact with the people here.”
While he speaks with his Indian classmates at the university, a 75-acre campus accommodating students from more than 20 countries, and some of them also showed up for an international cultural event he helped to organise, none of these encounters lead to friendships.
“I have never been at an Indian person’s home, as a friend. No one has visited me,” Zaharaddeen says.
Zaharaddeen rents two rooms on the first floor of a three-storey house in Greater Noida, a residential area on the outskirts of Noida, a satellite town east of New Delhi and part of what is called the National Capital Region. The house is about an hour’s drive south after crossing the River Yamuna which runs along Delhi’s east side.
Noida International University, one of five private universities in the city attracting students from all over the world, is another 20 minutes’ drive by bus or auto rickshaw along a newly constructed expressway, surrounded by barren fields and opposite a Formula 1 racing circuit that was built in 2011.
The university hostels are all off-campus. Zaharaddeen opted out of living in them because he likes to cook his own meals and he’d heard that the hostel canteens only serve vegetarian food.
A friend from Nigeria, who was already in India, found his current house for him. The ground floor is also rented out to a student from Nigeria.
“My landlord is an extremely good person,” Zaharaddeen says. Although he has had some bad experiences with Indian people, many of them are good, he stresses. And he doesn’t want to generalise.
“That would be a huge mistake. Because it is Indians often generalising about all people from Africa that makes us feel unsafe.”
‘Racism at every turn’
Zaharaddeen is a member of the Association of African Students in India, which last month announced a protest rally at New Delhi’s protest street Janter Manter.
“African students no longer feel safe in India; we have to deal with racism at every turn,” said the announcement.
The rally was planned after the Congolese teacher Masonda Kitanda Olivier died in an attack in Delhi in May. A week later, six Africans, including two women and a priest who was on his way home with his wife and baby, were attacked by men with cricket bats.
Earlier this year, a female student from Tanzania was beaten and stripped in Bangalore by an angry mob, in response to a fatal accident caused by a Sudanese student unknown to her.
Zaharaddeen speaks with horror about the attack in Bangalore: “She was just walking there. It could have happened to any of us.”
In each of the cases, the police said that racism had nothing to do with it. But for the student association and the Group of African Heads of Missions, it had, and the time had come to take up the issue at a higher level.”
Al Jazeera America TV crews were overcome with tear gas fired at their vehicle in Ferguson, Missouri, Wednesday night. Minutes later, police took down the crew’s light kit, and pointed their camera at the ground.
Bagrawiyah, Sudan – More than 200km from the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the remains of an ancient city rise from the arid and inhospitable terrain like a
science-fiction film set. Nestled between sand dunes, the secluded
pyramids seem to have been forgotten by the modern world, with no nearby
restaurants or hotels to cater to tourists.
Over the past four years, the Unist'ot'en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation have literally built a strategy to keep three proposed oil and gas pipelines from crossing their land. Concerned about the environmental damage a leak could cause on land they’ve never given up, they’ve constructed a protection camp to block pipeline companies. As opposition to the development of Alberta’s tar sands and to fracking projects grows across Canada, with First Nations communities on the front lines, the Unist'ot'en camp is an example of resistance that everyone is watching.
The more common form of witchdoctor in Tanzania are those who target people with albinism - a congenital condition that makes eyes, hair, and skin paler, and that affects one in 1,400 people here in Tanzania - compared to just one in 20,000 worldwide.
Trapped in their own skin in a tropical country with fierce sunshine and black magic beliefs, albinos in Tanzania are routinely abducted, mutilated, murdered or sold alive to witchdoctors, who charge a small fortune for charms made from their body parts.
Fishermen believe that if they sprinkle the hair of someone with albinism on the water, fish will jump into their nets. Miners think that their blood is a “metal detector” that can help find new deposits. And for those seeking something stronger, like politicians, there are ground-up albino bones.
“For albino parts, the last person we arrested he had a piece, a hand… We asked him: ‘How much is this?’ He said: 'I was expecting to get 100m shillings ($46,000) from this in Zambia,’” Home Affairs Minister Mathias Chikawe told Al Jazeera.
Many albinos fear going outside in daytime due to cancer-causing sunshine, but they also are wary to leave their homes at night, afraid of attacks ahead of campaign season.
“[Politicians] believe that if you want to become a successful member of parliament, you can use an albino part, and it’s not true,” said Chikawe.
People born with albinism in Tanzania are often targeted by withchdoctors who use their body parts for their 'healing’ activities "If in 2015 you believe that you will be rich because you have the hair of an albino, or a body part, then you really need to go back to school,“ Chikawe said.
Diyor İbrahim Çivici. Haberlere göre dört mevsim, günde 15, haftada 75 kilometre yürüyüp rayların güvenliğini sağlayan demiryolu bekçisi o. Ve haklı bir sitemi vardı makinistlere. Altı üstü bir selam. Bir selamla mutlu olabilecek ve bir selamla hüzünlenebilecek bir emektarın sitemi bu. Olayın devamı da var. Bu haberi okuyan makinistlerden biri İbrahim abimizi görünce yavaşlıyor. Kısaca şöyle anlatmış olayı İbrahim abi:
“Sultanhisar-Atça arasındaki hemzemin geçitte bir günlüğüne geçit bekçiliği yapıyordum. Nazilli-Söke seferini yapan yolcu treni geçide doğru yaklaşırken yavaşlamaya başladı. Yavaşladı, yavaşladı sonra önümde durdu. ‘Ne oldu hayrola, bir şey mi var’ dedim. Makinist arkadaşlar ‘İbrahim Çavuş’um, bize gönül koyuyormuşsun, seni görünce duralım selâm verelim, gönlünü alalım dedik’ dediler. Ben de kendilerine teşekkür ettim daha sonra hareket edip uzaklaştılar.”
İbrahim abinin anlatışında bile bir masumluk var. Tren yavaşlayınca bir sorun olduğunu düşünüyor. Çünkü şimdiye kadar onun için duran olmamış. Şaşırmış doğal olarak.
Ne diyelim… Aramızda güzel insanlar var. Var ama gören yok… Bu da bizim ayıbımız işte.
“The reaction has been extreme, as always with most of my work. It has weeded out a lot of hate from like, neo-nazi groups and people thinking it’s gonna cause ‘white genocide’ and that’s what I’m ‘promoting’…”