While world bashes Israel, Arab princes try to evict Africans

Friday, August 17, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

When the Jerusalem municipality signs an eviction notice against local Arabs who construct homes without the proper permits, world governments and the international press typically work themselves into a frenzy.

But when oil-rich Arab princes try to push an entire people off their land, no one seems to notice.

That's precisely what appears to be happening now in Tanzania, where activist groups say the government is preparing to sign a deal with an Arab-owned safari company that would result in the eviction of some 48,000 members of the Maasai tribe from their ancestral lands in the Serengeti.

Ortello Business Corporation, which has close ties to Dubai's royal family, reportedly intends to create a large hunting zone where Arab kings, princes and other celebrities can hunt prized big game such as leopards and lions.

But in order for that to happen, the semi-nomadic Maasai have to be pushed out of the area, and not for the first time. In 2009, some 2,000 Maasai were evicted from another part of the Serengeti to make room for Ortello clients.

"For us, our land is everything, but these Arab princes have no respect for the animals or our rights. Many of us would rather die than be forced to move again," Mzee Orosikos, a Maasai elder, told Britain's Guardian newspaper.

The Tanzanian government denied the allegations, but activist leaders said the officials are just trying to cover their tracks.

An online petitioned addressed to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has been started on the social action website Avaaz.org, and at press time already has over 750,000 signatures.

So why is this story receiving so little press coverage and being paid no attention at all by Western governments or the UN (the very same forces that are so unsettled when a single Arab family that conducted illegal construction in Jerusalem is evicted)?

A couple of speculative reasons are that in the case of Tanzania's Maasai:

  1. The perpetrators are not Jews;
  2. The victims are Africans.

[hat tip: Rosh Pina Project]

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