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- Ramsey Clark
(happy Human Rights Day)
in the african great lakes region, people with albinism face both ostracism from their communities and are hunted by those looking to sell their body parts to witch doctors. infants are abducted from mother’s beds and young children are kidnapped, where their eyes, genitals, arms and organs are removed, often while still alive.
with the body parts believed to be fetching tens of thousands of dollars on the black market, the trade is thought to be driven by the wealthiest members of society. “mutilation and murders of children with albinism are mostly met by social silence and indifference,” says a report released last year by the un’s special representative on violence against children.
in the past few years, there have been 72 reported killings and 35 reported attacks resulting in severe mutation in tanzania alone; in the rest of africa, there have been 45 reported killings and 30 severe mutilations, though unreported cases would put the numbers much higher. a full, detailed listing of killings and attacks can be found here
i tried to write about your eyes
but i ran out of cliches
i tried to say you plainly
but there wasn’t enough truth
whoever invented this language
didn’t anticipate you
"You can’t pay $60,000 a year? Sorry, you can’t go to college."
"You dropped out of school to earn money and now you’re at a dead-end job? Why didn’t you just go to college?"
There will come a time when you want to cut off all your hair. Do it. Realise that the thing you want rid of doesn’t lie in the long curls that frame your face so perfectly. Live with short hair for a while. It’ll grow.
You won’t always want to talk to people. That’s okay. When it’s late and you hear your friends talking in the next room, you don’t have to join them. You’re allowed your solitude. It makes company sweeter and it teaches you how to survive alone. You will need that skill.
In the winter, you’ll believe that nothing will ever grow again. You’re wrong. Every year, London looks like it’s on its last legs, wheezing through those last cold days in March. Every year, spring comes like an explosion and the city shakes off its sleep.
Mundane problems will get the better of you sometimes. Don’t worry. Try as you might, life cannot be an endless, beautiful, intense moment. Find comfort in money worries and late trains; they’re a welcome rest in between heartbreaks and breakdowns.
People will call you a cynic, a wry smile on their faces. Pay them no mind. You alone know that you are capable of a love greater than anything they can comprehend. You alone know that you are not willing to sell your identity and respect to the first smirking halfwit to pass by. It is not cynicism. It is reverence for your own vast and fathomless heart, and it makes sense only to love someone who understands that and is awed by it.
You will not always get what you want when you want it. Accept it. Your goals are not set in stone and you are not on a fixed trajectory. Sometimes, life will take its time and you will have to play the long, interminable game. Play it well and with as much grace as you can muster. Live at your own pace.
At night, you will occasionally wake up afraid, wanting to die. Don’t give in. Night plays its tricks, but you are not so easily fooled. Your mind will play its tricks, too. It will make you believe that you’re not who you are, but you must not give in. You take a breath and you tell yourself that you are here. That you always were.