Tuesday, July 16, 2019

When all that's left of your child is a bit of hair

A recurring theme in folktales from different West African cultures is the mistreated child who sinks into the earth:

The Pineapple Child (from the Ga ethnic group of Ghana):
A hunter had 2 wives. The younger wife was childless, and wanted a child very much. One day, she was on her way to the farm with her husband when they met an old man who asked them what they wished for. They answered, "A child." The old man uprooted a pineapple plant growing nearby and changed it into a baby girl. The younger wife was delighted, but the old man warned them that they must never tell the child that she came from a pineapple.

The younger wife brought the baby home and spent many happy hours with her. The older wife, Adele, hated that her co-wife was so happy. She eavesdropped on the younger wife and learnt about the origin of the baby. Adele's resentment of her co-wife increased as the years went by, watching her rival dote on the growing child.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bad things happen to men who betray talking animals to the authorities

Similar motifs can be found in stories from around the world, but the differences are just as interesting:

The Chameleon Harpist (from the Fulani of Niger):
While hunting deep in the forest, a hunter came across a chameleon who could sing and play the harp beautifully. The chameleon made the hunter promise not to tell anyone about him. But the hunter was so excited at meeting a talking chameleon that he couldn't help sharing his story with other humans, including the king.

The king sent guardsmen with the hunter to confirm his story. "If there is such a chameleon, I will make you rich. But if there is not such a chameleon, you will pay with your life." When the hunter brought the guards to the chameleon in the deep forest, the chameleon kept silent. So the guards assumed that the hunter had been lying and killed him. After that, the chameleon spoke, "He brought about his own death. I told him not to tell anyone about me, but he had to tell the world because of his greed."1
The Fiddler Tortoise (from the Ga ethnic group of Ghana):

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Persistence of Friends

man breaking free from ice block
In appreciation of the organizations that worked towards the release of gay Nigerian asylum seeker Udoka Nweke, including, but not limited to:

Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project of Transgender Law Center
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Freedom for Immigrants
Haitian Bridge Alliance

Full list is here.

Nweke fled homophobic violence in Nigeria. He asked for asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry in California in December 2016 and was detained by ICE immediately. He was put in immigration detention for nearly 2 years. Because of his orientation, Nweke was subjected to violence and verbal threats in Adelanto Detention Center. He made 2 suicide attempts during his long detention.

Nweke was released in September 2018 pending his asylum appeal.  Public Law Center will continue to represent him in his asylum case.

Asylum seekers released on parole often have to wait months for their work permit and have no income to rely on. As Udoka enters next stage of his asylum process in the US, the #FreeUdoka team asks you to consider making a gift to his survival fund.

Illustration is available on Creative Action Network.