‘Pray for France and Sarah Baartman’


SOCIAL media platform facebook, following the several terrorist attacks on Paris, France, last Friday, urged users to stand in solidarity and put up images of the French flag with their faces embedded in them.
The attacks left more than 130 people dead and at least 350 others injured.
The call by facebook was to ‘ensure’ that everyone mourns with France.
Others, including Africans and fellow Zimbabweans, heeded the call and changed their profile pictures all in the name of doing the humane thing of sympathising with the bereaved.
Given that Africa has had her own share of attacks and no such plea to Europe to help Africa mourn by facebook irked self-respecting Africans.
The selfishness and hypocrisy of the whiteman was evident not only in expecting Africa to mourn with France, but also by going on to mock the Africans showing their sympathy.
Kesley Reynolds from France twitted: “Some of you dumb Africans think that changing your profile pictures to that of the flag of France will give you a free visa to enter my country, you lie.”
Bay responded to Reynolds’ twit: “You are so right girl.
“We don’t need anymore ‘blackies’ here.”
If the French do not recognise Africans as humans, why would they deserve any form of sympathy from us, is the question every right-minded African asks.
Below are some of the comments on facebook and twitter about black people who overlaid their profile pictures with the French flag:
Yaaro Deen: “When you pray for France do not forget to pray for that South African lady Sarah Baartman whose body was in French zoos being used as an exhibition.
“During her living days she was sexually abused and would be
forced to walk naked in the streets of Paris and every white mafia would just touch her body or have sex with her.
“She would be used in lectures as exhibition of how the body of a black lady looks like.
“Do not also forget to pray for the 18 000 chopped heads of Africans beheaded during French colonisation of the Francophone countries.
“As am writing here, these thousands of African bodies are hanged in French museums as exhibitions of French colonial supremacy.
“Just making a point for we are Black Africans.”
George N Mtonga II: “Dear Africans. Have you ever wondered why facebook has never given us an app when our brothers and sisters get slaughtered like sheep and cows in Nigeria or Sudan?
“We saw the rainbow flag for gay rights and we have seen the French flag.
“And I’m sure any Western world will qualify for this gesture.
“Does this mean that we ourselves do not care for the lives of those who die, but are poor Africans?
“You of all people jump on the bandwagon and try to reassure yourselves that you are being a human being.
“No you are hypocrite; just like the people who run facebook.
“Nigerians have been dying and I have not seen anything turn green and white?
“Why? Because all of you have become comfortable with the death of poor Africans.
“Death becomes death, when it no longer astounds us.
“At that point the moral campus of humanity ceases to exist.
“You will not see the French flag on my wall!” (sic)
Spiritual Thug @Nelson Empowered: “A French flag in the face of all the oppression France has and still inflicts on Africa is disrespect to you Africa and our ancestors.”
Dibolo @_Dibolo: “France must fight its own battles.
“Africa is pre-occupied with its own conflicts hunger and killings.
“We need to focus our prayers on Africa (sic).”
Hamim A Inkotanyi @Asperritt: “When three are killed in France the world mourns.
“When thousands die on African soil it is a myth.”


  1. I agree there was a bias in the initial reports on Paris and that Beyrouth and all those other places should have received equal attention – a bias that is now recognized and discussed by journalists in ‘the North’ in the media. And yes, France has a colonial past – and a colonial presence. However, I’m afraid your story is just as simplistic as the racist reactions you cite. Having lived in Paris, my first reaction when I heard about the attacks was ‘why there?’ If you want to hit the complacent/complicit autochthonous Parisians, you go to the 7th arrondissement, not to the 10th, which is a very mixed neighbourhood. You don’t go to the Bataclan theatre, that regularly programmes African (including North African) and Middle Eastern bands, and where it is unlikely that you’ll find the kind of people cited in your article. And then I read an interview with Fadela Amara, a former member of Cabinet who works tirelessly to improve the situation in the banlieus in Paris, commenting on the places chosen for the attacks: this was also very much an attack on Muslims who do not support IS. And I think she is right. Your reaction denies the fact that Paris is a multicultural city, and that the neighbourhood and the theatre attacked symbolize this multiculturality, it denies that migrants have and should have a place in the city. It’s this multiculturality that both the terrorists and the racists you cite despise. The people who died were not just autochthonous French who, if we take the idea that everybody should be treated equally seriously should be mourned too. So please don’t buy into this simplistic rethoric and don’t practice what you reproach others: don’t make a distinction between the victims just on the basis of where they died.


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