Helen Zille criticised for taking aim at 'silent' Black Lives Matter movement during Mozambique attacks

13 April 2021 - 09:42
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
DA federal chairperson Helen Zille has questioned the silence of the Black Lives Matter movement amid Mozambique attacks.
Image: RUVAN BOSHOFF DA federal chairperson Helen Zille has questioned the silence of the Black Lives Matter movement amid Mozambique attacks.

DA federal chairperson Helen Zille has ruffled feathers after she questioned the “silence” of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement amid the attacks in Mozambique.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Zille said she received videos and pictures showing the “gruesome” attacks against the residents of the Cabo Delgado province in the country.

“They are so totally and utterly gruesome that I can honestly say I have never seen anything so horrific before. Live people having their limbs hacked off. People parading the streets with decapitated heads,” she wrote before asking a “dead serious question” about BLM.

“Where is #BlackLivesMatter? Or do they only deal with deaths that they can make political capital out of, in decrying 'whiteness'? Nothing I have ever seen compares to the brutality in Cabo Delgado. Yet silence,” she wrote.

She said the movement is too busy “looking for microaggressions” rather than confronting all violence against black people.

I have been sent some videos of the ISIS-linked insurgent attacks in Cabo Delgado in Northern Mozambique. They are so...

Posted by Helen Zille on Monday, April 12, 2021

Her stance triggered wide-ranging condemnation from people who accused her of minimising racism and being “out of touch with reality”.

At the time of publishing this article, the post on Facebook had more than 1,000 comments and more than 2,500 shares.

Lee-Ann Adendorff responded: “Is what happened to George Floyd and other African Americans 'unintentional micro-aggressions'? This language minimises this and the institutional racism in the USA and denies its existence.”

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Jason Ricketts said the Mozambique attacks need a different approach to BLM.

“ ... You're sorely mistaken if you think black people don't care about the horrific attacks going on in Mozambique and you're horribly out of touch with reality if you think outrage from BLM will make any difference. Different issues require different approaches.” 

Residents in the city of Palma in Cabo Delgado province have been living in fear and thousands displaced since Islamist militants launched deadly attacks two weeks ago, over a gas project.

The Mozambican government said it had retained control of the area after killing militants. Survivors of the attacks have told how they feared for their lives, describing how people were beheaded and the militants had no mercy.