Exploiting Opiyo: Ota Benga Style

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Jeanette Quinn, the Northampton woman who brought an eight year old Ugandan boy from Gulu, a town devastated by civil war, to the United States, ostensibly to seek medical treatment for severe wounds turns out to be a self-seeking publicity hound.

Quinn must immediately surrender guardianship of the boy, Opiyo Ivance, whom she brought to this country under dubious representation. The Black Star News will encourage and promote legal action against Quinn unless she steps aside.

This newspaper has learned that since the publication of a one-sided whitewash article in The New York Times this week, Quinn has been contacted by Hollywood producers: She planned to bring them to the Brooklyn hospital where Opiyo is now being monitored. Quinn’s head needs to be examined: she is exploiting this poor boy as if he were a little creature--much like Ota Benga, the Congolese so-called Pygmy who was brought here and displayed in Bronx Zoo alongside an Orangutan in 1906.

As readers following Opiyo’s saga in the pages of The Black Star are aware, the boy has been in Brookdale Medical Center since an incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 20, 2007. Quinn was apparently trying to return Opiyo to the streets of Gulu from whence she removed him.

She had brought him late last year to the United States after she found him in the streets of Uganda: Unless credible paper work showing proper procedures were followed in authorizing the removal of Opiyo from Gulu to bring him here, kidnapping charges cannot be ruled out—this, regardless the fact that the boy may have been homeless. Was Quinn’s fitness to care for a boy with trauma such as Opiyo’s evaluated? Was Quinn’s mental fitness reviewed?

Quinn is no pure humanitarian: Once in Northampton, Massachusetts, residents were touched by Opiyo’s plight and by the severe wounds he suffered as a result of Uganda’s war. The residents donated $10,000 to help Quinn take care of Opiyo.

The Black Star News has learned that only a few hundred dollars remain: What happened to the rest of the money? The boy has been here about five months—did he consume $10,000 worth of groceries?

After placing Opiyo in a Northampton school, Quinn was not satisfied at the rate at which he was learning English and she yanked him from class: She placed him in another school and again yanked him. Moreover, she wasn’t happy that Opiyo wasn’t getting along with her dog. She decided to dump him back to Uganda.

While at the airport, the boy, probably completely traumatized because of being treated like a yo-yo (compounding his existing trauma) struggled with a person he probably then saw as a tormentor. The National Guard and New York Police soon surrounded the boy – thankfully he wasn’t shot.

Opiyo was whisked in a straightjacket to a hospital in Queens, and sedated with, who knows what kind of drugs: Since then, he’s been confined at Brookdale, where, away from Quinn, he has improved remarkably.

Brookdale was considering releasing Opiyo to Quinn on Monday. Such a travesty must not be allowed. The City of New York would bear liability. Opiyo cannot be returned to this Hollywood hound.


Send comments to milton@blackstarnews.com


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