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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Edward Snowden Encourages African Children

Edward Snowden encourages Annie, a 10-year-old African girl living with albinism to love the skin she is in.



 Note: The term Person with Albinism (PWA) is the correct term to use and not albino for people living with the condition. Historically albino is a derogatory term putting their condition before the person. PWA puts the person before their condition.

Edward Snowden encourages African children living with Albinism



Tanzania has one of the largest populations of people with Albinism in the world
In Africa PWA’s are facing the daily horror
of a rapidly growing industry in the
sale of albino body parts
Amnesty International states on their website, “Edward Snowden is a hero not a traitor, he stood up for our rights, prompting a global debate on mass surveillance that changed the world – yet he faces decades in prison for it.”

Whether you believe Edward Snowden is a whistleblower or a traitor, he wrote a heartfelt letter to Annie Alfred, a 10-year-old child living with albinism in Malawi Africa who is also on Amnesty International’s list of 12 cases of “Write for Rights”.

Throughout Africa, albinism is much more widespread than the rest of the world. Albinism is genetically inherited resulting in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes. Persons with albinism (PWA) are extremely sensitive to sun exposure and bright light, and some are visually impaired.

PWA’s like Malawi’s Annie Alfred is like any other child in Africa except people think she’s unhuman calling her names like ghost or money. Annie is at risk of being hunted and killed by people who think their body parts will make them lots of money.
Edward Snowden encourages African children living with Albinism
Ukerewe Island is home to a large
community of people with albinism

In Tanzania, PWA’s are killed and dismembered due to a widespread belief that charms made from their body parts bring good fortune and prosperity.  There is a booming black market demand for the body parts of people with albinism selling for around US$600. On 1-1-15, Police in Tanzania arrested four people over the kidnapping of a PWA girl from her home in the Mwanza region of Tanzania; her father is accused of orchestrating the offence.

In Africa PWA’s are facing the daily horror of a rapidly growing industry in the sale of albino body parts where more than 70 PWA’s have been killed since 2000. In Annie’s country of Malawi, 2015 alone, there were 45 reports of actual or attempted murder and abduction. In Malawi 2016, the bloodiest month was April this year, when Amnesty says four people were murdered, including an infant.

“It is shameful that people are being persecuted for being different” - Snowden to Annie.


Snowden, who tells Annie “Your differences are not weaknesses, they are strengths.” “Never stop defending the right to be different, no matter how difficult the times. Each of us is a treasure of the earth, and perhaps you most of all.”

The term Person with Albinism (PWA) is the correct term to use and not albino for people living with the condition.
Throughout Africa, albinism is much more
widespread than the rest of the world.
The letter was published online by the human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor charged with espionage after leaking documents revealing US surveillance programs, wrote Annie’s letter as part of a day of action on December 10, 2016 “Write for Rights”. Snowden has lived in exile in Russia since 2013.

 “Embrace the thing that separate you from the crowd of the ordinary, and never stop defending the right to be different, no matter how difficult the times. Each of us is a treasure of the earth, and perhaps you most of all.” Snowden wrote in his letter to Annie.


Tanzania has one of the largest populations of people with Albinism in the world with an estimated 170,000. In the heart of Lake Victoria, Ukerewe Island is home to a large community of people with albinism. 

In Tanzania, persons with albinism are also facing the daily horror of a rapidly growing industry in the sale of albino body parts. Buhangija Albinism School, 116 children are separated from their families and placed for their own protection due to simply being born with albinism.

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