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I live in Canada but Uganda is my home!

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd June 2008 03:00 AM

EDITOR— It is befitting to respond to the comment, “so absurd and far-fetched that I will not deign it with a substantive response” made by the Ambassador of The Netherlands in Uganda, Jeroen Verheul. Verheul was responding to my my letter, “Why a prison and not a social programme” publis

EDITOR— It is befitting to respond to the comment, “so absurd and far-fetched that I will not deign it with a substantive response” made by the Ambassador of The Netherlands in Uganda, Jeroen Verheul. Verheul was responding to my my letter, “Why a prison and not a social programme” publis

EDITOR— It is befitting to respond to the comment, “so absurd and far-fetched that I will not deign it with a substantive response” made by the Ambassador of The Netherlands in Uganda, Jeroen Verheul. Verheul was responding to my my letter, “Why a prison and not a social programme” published on May 24.

It is even more shocking for a diplomat of a friendly country to use such words to describe genuine comments made by a Ugandan, wherever we happen to live in the Global North.

The ambassador should not foreignise Ugandans living abroad in trying to shut us up. We are Ugandans.

I have lived in Karamoja before, and have friends among ethnic Karimojong, for example, Esther Athiyo, Asha Kodet, and Margaret Nangiro Choudry, great old girls, with whom I was in school in northern Uganda.

In Karamoja there is famine almost every year and it is called akoro. I know Moroto very well. for example, there are the suburbs of Camp Swahili and Nakapelemen in the vicinity of the municipality.

I’ve also been to Abim in Kotido and I understand the language of the Labwor, which is Acholi, a Luo language. My interest, therefore, is not “external”. Racism, in whatever form must be condemned and not defended or disguised.

Sometimes racism is systemic, so that the people who benefit from it see nothing wrong with it, or even deny it, to the extent of labelling those who are offended by it, ludicrous!

There is also an African proverb that says: “It is the wearer of the shoe that knows where it pinches most.” Africans wear the black skin, and the fact of blackness is with us all the time as Frantz Fanon also wrote.

There is also a lot written on our bodies because of ‘blackness’, which the limited space does not allow me to elaborate on.

Could the envoy explain to the Ugandan public his overreaction? The fact is that the Sinterklass tradition is racist. It depicts blacks as slaves to the Santa Claus. When slavery was done away with, the Sinterklass tradition where blacks are the servants of a white Santa should also have been done away with.

Jenn Jagire
Ontario, Canada

I live in Canada but Uganda is my home!

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