Note from BW of Brazil: Just wondering. Does anyone seem to notice a certain way that it seems black immigrants are treated in Brazil? Or is it just this writer? I mean, in case you haven’t kept up the news on this blog, just a few days we reported on an incident in which a white woman insulted, threw bananas at and slapped a Senegalese man in the southern state of Paraná. This being only the latest in a series of reports of racism and xenophobic behavior against Haitian and African immigrants that has been reported over the past few years. We’ve seen murder, shootings, racial slurs, police harassment and other incidents. We’ve even heard of experiences with Brazil’s brand of racism from black Americans and Europeans. So the question would be the following: Should we still consider the words of the white Brazilian woman who apologized to the Senegalese man for the racist actions of another woman when she said “Brazilian people are not like that”? Well, if you still haven’t seen enough examples of this ‘special’ treatment reserved for black immigrants, check out the following story, which, coincidentally, involves another Senegalese man in another southern state (1).
Senegalese man has body burned while sleeping in Santa Maria
Courtesy of Diário de Santa Maria
Three men set the immigrant’s mattress on fire, leaving burns on both legs
A Senegalese immigrant had his body burned after three people set the mattress on which he slept on fire on Saturday, September 12th, in Santa Maria (state of Rio Grande do Sul). According to the police report filed by federal police, Cheikh Oumar Foutyou Diba, 25, had gone to a bakery which is on Avenida Rio Branco for help, in the downtown region of the city, around 9am.
He was rescued by an ambulance from the Fire Department and taken to the emergency care unit (UPA) for medical attention. According to the administration of the UPA, he had superficial burns on both legs, but his health condition is not serious. At 7pm, he remained hospitalized for observation.
The Senegalese man said that he woke up and saw the flames and watched as the group ran away carrying a briefcase with the jewelry he usually sells on the streets, R$500 and the shoes he wore. He also said that ended up sleeping on the street because he wasn’t able to get to the city hostel, which closes at 8pm.
The Federal Police reported preliminarily that the immigrant is regularized in the country and has a passport. The case was registered as assault and theft, and it’s likely that the investigation will be transferred to the Civil Police.
Police could have found the true location of the attack against the Senegalese man in Santa Maria
by Lizie Antonello with information from Fabricio Minussi
A team from the 1st Precinct of the Civil Police could have found the true location of the assault on the Senegalese man Cheikh Oumar Foutyou Diba, 25, that happened last Saturday in Santa Maria. The immigrant that had part of his body burned while he slept, had spent the night in one of the abandoned train regions of Viação Férrea.
A big mark on the ground of the second to last train wagon indicates that something was burned in the place. Last Saturday morning, agents from the Munipical Guard put out the fire on the mattress inside the wagon. In the place powder residue of the fire extinguishers that were used by the guards to put out the flames can be seen. The incident was registered in the Guard’s service bulletin.
In a statement to police, Diba indicated the location where he slept, on Rua Borges do Cantos (street) in the neighborhood of Itararé, but no vestige of the mattress or flammable liquid was located in the location pointed out by the victim. Neighbors also told the police that they didn’t see anyone sleeping near the surroundings early that morning.
The crime happened around 7am on Saturday, and the exact location of the fact is one of the points of interrogation that the police still need to uncover. The Civil Police continue investigating the case looking for suspects. Images from Municipal Guard security cameras show a movement of teenagers near the entrance of Viaduto da Gare early Saturday morning, hours before the attack. They ended up damaging one of the cameras positioned in the area of the overpass.
Police are still investigating if this group could have been connected to the attack or if they even had contact with the Senegalese man. The images were handed over to the police in the morning.
Diba traveled to Caxias do Sul, where he will be welcomed by the Associação dos Imigrantes Senegalenses (Association of Senegalese Immigrants) of the city of Serra Gaúcha. The invitation was made Monday in Santa Maria, by the president of the entity, Abdou Lahat Noiaye, better known as Bili. He visited the immigrant that was robbed and had part of his body burned by aggressors during an attack that happened early Saturday morning on Avenida Rio Branco.
After a rest, that will be covered by the association, Diba will return to Senegal. By Monday, the immigrant had managed to talk to his mother by phone. The contact was intermediated by welcoming services carried out by academics and professors of the Centro Universitário Franciscano (Unifra) that work in the Núcleo de Prática Jurídica.
“He was emotional and it became evident that he wanted to return to Senegal,” said the coordinator of the Unifra center, Paulo Ferrony.
Diba arrived in South America in 2012 through Argentina with a group of immigrants that later entered Brazil and established themselves in Caxias do Sul. “He said that he helps support his mother. He always sends money when he can to assist in support. He was very worried about her situation,” said Ferrony.
The decision to leave Brazil was confirmed by the Cheikh Diba himself in a report by A Razão, in a telephone interview on Tuesday evening. But it guarantees that he will return to the Rio Grande do Sul. This is because the owners of an inn in the region are finalizing the construction of a restaurant and decided to hire an immigrant who has experience in hospitality, and speak several languages, including Portuguese, French, Spanish and German. It will be a formal job with a carteira assinada (signed work card), of which he always dreamed of in coming to Brazil.
INTERVIEW: CHEIKH DIBA
A Razão: What happened with the aggression?
Cheikh: I missed the time of the hostel and made a bed on the sidewalk. I was asleep when it happened. I didn’t expect to go through this in Brazil, really because I’ve made many true friendships in Santa Maria.
A Razão: How did you deal with the repercussions?
Cheikh: What happened to me is a story. We learn more about life. I was concerned about the way the news came to my mother. She was very shaken up.
A Razão: what impression did you have about Brazil?
Cheikh: I don’t put everyone on the same scale. I have real friends and a job now. I will return after checking on my mother. What happened to me has nothing to do with Brazil. I have more friends here than in Senegal.
Dilma determines that the Federal Police will investigate attack on Senegalese man
Courtesy of Brasil 247
President Dilma Rousseff repudiated the attack on Diba. On Twitter, the president said that the act is “criminal” and offends the “historic tradition of welcome and respect” of Brazilians towards immigrants. She revealed that she’s determined that the Federal Police to open an investigation on the attack.The Senegalese immigrant was tended to at a medical clinic in the city and released the same day. Dilma said she “deeply” lamented the occurrence and reaffirmed that she “repudiates any form of violence, intolerance and hate.”
- It is important to point out the fact that this latest incident, like the one posted a few days ago, happened in southern Brazil, the region of the country that is considered the ‘Brazilian Europe’ because the populations of these three states are overwhelmingly white.