The world has gone and gotten itself in a fiery hot mess. Not that that’s anything new, but it seems particularly acute these days.
While mainstream media make it a point to keep the atrocities occurring in certain other countries on a 24-hour existential crises-fomenting loop, there always a glaring gap in the countries they focus on in the U.S.
I’ll let you guess how Black that gap is.
Humanity has yet to elevate past genocide and the dominion of power-hungry men happy to treat innocent lives like toilet paper. But it’s also unconscionable to see the collective American response to atrocities that occur in white countries – the social media outrage, the protests – while hundreds of thousands perish in Black countries and few eyes bat.
Below is a (by no means exhaustive) list of human rights atrocities from Black countries that are happening as I type or were recent enough that the effects are still being felt. From what I’ve seen, none of them have triggered 10-figure checks from our government or flag photos superimposed on Facebook profile photos.
The western Sudanese region can’t catch a break. Two decades after then President Omar al-Bashir oversaw the genocide of ethnic African tribes that resulted in some 300,000 deaths, “ethnic cleansing” has returned to the region.
Since April, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and it’s leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the de facto leader of the country, has been in battle for power with Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan’s paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a group that rose to prominence from the ashes of the 2003 genocide.
As was the case then, the vulnerable Sudanese people are being slain on a regular basis: Some seven months into the conflict, estimates place the dead at nearly 10,000, with millions of people – mostly women and children – being forced to flee the country with just the clothes on their back.
On Nov. 11, about 800 Sudanese were killed in a multi-day attack when the RSF rolled through Ardamata in West Darfur. There doesn’t appear to be any end in sight to the madness.
The amount of unnecessary death northern Ethiopia has seen in recent years is staggering to the point of absurdity. But how many of you know about it?
In November 2020, The Tigray War kicked off with Ethiopian and Eritrean federal forces battling the Tigray People’s Liberation Front over, you guessed it…more power.
Both sides contributed to human rights atrocities, which included mass killings, rape and the destruction of homes, schools and hospitals. The government’s cutoff of humanitarian aid to the region resulted in hundreds of thousands dying of starvation.
Conservative estimates of casualties come in at about 600,000, making the conflict the deadliest war of the 21st century to date, but also generally ignored. The U.S. Government finally acknowledged in March that war crimes and crimes against humanity occurred in March 2023.
To my knowledge, no large checks were cut.
Haiti is a country without a real government. And it’s been that way for a while.
Vigilantism and gang violence run amok in the Caribbean country: According to a report issued to the U.N. Security Council in September, there have been more than 2,700 intentional killings recorded between October 2022 and June 2023, including more than 300 women and children.
The discord started with the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, which prompted gangs to take over the capital city Port-au-Prince. The violence eventually trickled to other regions of the country, which is smaller than all but a few U.S. states.
Charismatic gang leaders like Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizer convince souls to commit to his vision of leadership by way of heinous violence, much of which is sexual in nature, with women being kidnapped and assaulted – 452 reported rape cases in that period (many families will not report the issues for fear of retribution from the gangs).
The killings have only escalated in recent months, thanks to a vigilante movement called “Bwa Kale” in Port-au-Prince that’s targeting the gangs while making matters worse for the citizens.
One of these days, it’ll make for a great Netflix film or documentary, I’m sure. But it’s happening right now, and we aren’t doing much about it.
Dustin J. Seibert is an opinion writer and native Detroiter living in Chicago and Miami. He loves his mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him on Instagram and the erstwhile Twitter: @Justice2K.
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