COVID 19: Africans Should Be Treated with Sensitivity

Published on 15th April 2020

Recently, two French doctors: Jean-Paul Mira, head of ICU services at the Cochin Hospital in Paris, and Camille Locht, research director for France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) who appeared on TV network on LCI suggested that the test for the COVID-19 vaccine should be conducted in Africa.

The CNN cited Mira as saying “if I could be provocative, should we not do this study in Africa, where there are no [face]masks, no treatments and no ICUs?” Puerile and heedless argument any true human––who is a doctor even a bush doctor––can contemplating about saying leave alone saying it.

Where should these doctors first conduct the experiment?  Shouldn’t it be in countries that are experiencing high fatalities? The so-called international community kept mum on this stance on Africa, Africans and black people. However, only one man, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General, openly condemned this suggestion against Africans collective.

 “To be honest, I was so appalled. And it was a time when I said when we needed solidarity -- this kind of racist remarks actually would not help, it goes against the solidarity,” the CNN quoted him.

I intend to write a book known as Education for Ignorance. This is because when I see how––some of the so-called educated people––behave, I conclude that they either have a problem or the kind of education they received is problematic.

Why does Europe think that Africans are its economic and scientific guinea pigs? It is sad that European colonialists objectified Africans––getting away with the murder of slavery and colonialism, not to mentions genocide in the former Congo Free State thereafter Zaire and then the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under Belgian King Leopold and Namibia where thousands of Herero and Namas people were exterminated by Germans.  

Africans may be poor but not crazy. They might have poor health services but not poor hearts. Africans are humans like anybody. Africans are not begging to be recognised as humans. In the west, Africans and other non-white are referred to as people of colour as if those labelling them so have no colour or are the people of no colour. 

This racist proclivity in the west where supremacist ideologies are entrenched in their action, cultures and languages should stop. Try to interrogate and research the meaning of the term ‘black’ in English language; you will see how endemic and systematic racism is in European minds and nations.

What the French doctors proposed is a typical replica of the racist view against Africans.  This is the west everybody needs to know despite hiding itself behind many smokescreens such as globalization and modernity.

By Nkwazi Mhango

Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books.

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