What is more devastating? The mindless disregard the world gives Black bodies or the various forms of violence flung at Black bodies based on this disregard? Both are just as worse, and the malevolent machinery that bolsters it — capitalism, imperialism, racism, white supremacy, and disenfranchisement of Black power where and when it matters — continues to grind on, causing havoc and unimaginable pain on whomever it has in its claws.
This time, like many times, it is immigrants. A word that now carries, for Africans, a heavy history of violent seas and perilous journeys, travel policies with targeted restrictions, refugee camps, prison cells, holding centers, and other forms of institutionalised hostility directed at Africans seeking new lives away from their homes.
A recent investigation by the British newspaper Sunday Telegraph has revealed how hundreds of African migrants – many who are of Ethiopian descent – are being locked up in Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus detention facilities under harsh living conditions. Some are reported to have committed suicide and others seriously considering the idea while battling with their mental health, among other things. The report stated that the migrants have had to sleep side by side with overflowing toilets, and physical abuse from the guards.
As it is now, the world is either oblivious or has decided to remain silent, while the Saudi Arabian government enjoys the ‘glorious moments’.
But it would be fulfilling to see these people, mostly teenagers, return to their homes and rebuild their lives with dignity. Nobody deserves to be treated like this and we must all lend our voice to this issue.
No matter how many times migrants are left at sea to die, or thrown away like trash when they die in custody, we have to keep talking about it. Black bodies deserve dignity and respect and we have to keep demanding for it as often as we can.
So if you come across a petition to help save these migrants, please sign it. If you can make a donation that can help their welfare, please do, but above all, these migrants deserve our attention, so we must never stop talking about the inhumane treatment being meted out to them for doing nothing but exist.
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.