Caught up Abroad…

Just like in the National Geographic TV mini series ‘Banged up Abroad’, African Australian, Melbourne based, John Kuot, found himself in a life or death situation while on holiday in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2015. He was shot at during a botched robbery attempt and a bullet struck him on the head, initially rendering him partially paralysed.

In a message posted on Facebook that has gone viral within the African Australian community, John expressed his disappointment over the Australian Government’s poor response and the lack of media attention to his ordeal, which left him in an induced coma for days.

Though one may argue that there is not much the Australian Government can do in such a situation, what stands out in this tragic event is how it went unnoticed and failed to generate media attention. If a white Australian had gone through the ordeal that John went through; been shot and placed in an induced coma, in a foreign country, it would have been headline news all over Australia and across the globe. Candle light vigils would have been held for the victim while he or she recuperates, and the Prime Minister would have made a statement expressing support for the family. There would have been a step by step commentary of the whole process with interviews and fundraising activities.

It is sad to say that in this case it seems as if no one cared, other than those closely related to the victim. And there were no throng of reporters waiting at the airport on his return either.

Finally the story will be aired on Today Tonight but the question is, will they focus on the incident, or will their story be about the lack of attention John and his story received from the mainstream media? Either way this neglect on part of the media doesn’t tell well in supporting a multicultural and inclusive Australian society.

There will be more on this story, Salt Magazine had a phone interview with John in March when he returned to Australia and we will be sharing the full story with our readers in our next edition, end of April 2016.

SALT Magazine is an African-Australian Community News Magazine, created to provide print and online news and information on a broad range of issues of interest to the African community in Australia as well as to the wider general public. Our main aim is to act as a platform for the voice of the new and emerging African Australian communities, providing an African perspective to Australian topics. We wish to highlight African refugee success stories and encourage community development by exploring the challenges faced by new arrivals.

1 Comment

  • Reply April 18, 2016

    Dee Mbugua

    It is certainly disappointing to see media outlets jump so readily to report unsubstantiated allegations against Africans, yet when an Australian of African descent has a near-death experience abroad, it is of no consequence. Who is an Australian? This is not about whether ‘nude’ band-aids blend with our skin or whether we are pre-determined to like certain things based on where we were born. This is someone’s life. A white Australian in the same scenario? Travel advisories would be on the highest alert – they would invent a colour more panic-inducing than red to highlight just how dangerous it is to fly to Africa. Travel Agencies might delete the word ‘Africa’ from their databases. Qantas will ground any connecting flights to African destinations. And the media? The media would report breaking news with updates every 15 minutes until their beloved white Australian is back on home turf and can grant several interviews about their ordeal. Racism is probably not something that can be fixed, but it was created, perpetuated and upheld by white people. Therefore, white people have to be a part of the solution. White media has to be a part of the solution. And it’s not about pity either, I don’t believe that’s the driving force behind this story. It’s about a ‘fair go’. #GiveKuotAFairGo
    On paper, John Kuot is Australian. Beyond that, he’s a human being. That should be the end.

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