When Efforts Of A Black Man Become Jealousy And Scorn In Belgium

Writer Joel Savage

“I became a subject of ridicule, scorn, and laughter in Antwerp, just because I’m writing books, but I refused to live the way they want.” – Joel Savage

Laughter takes place when something funny occurs. It can happen during conversation, celebration, events etc. According to a health magazine, laughter can support the immune system, improve blood pressure, stimulate the organs and even reduce pain. Laughter is said to be a medicine which improves health and lifts up your spirit. Surprisingly, most laughter isn’t about humor, but taunting and underestimation.

It is very bad to make fun of people, yet there are many who laugh at the handicap, old people, beggars, biologically deformed people, the sick and sometimes at people who accidentally fall. The features of the human body lead people to laugh at other people. We hear often, what an ugly face? Big mouth, big ears, big nose and other disheartening and hurtful comments.

At school, some children bully and laugh at other children. Most of these children are too young even to realize what they are doing is wrong. It’s therefore, baffles me a lot when I see adults who suppose to know more than children, doing exactly what children’s do. No child has ever laughed at me in my efforts to be a writer. My bitter experience of becoming a subject of ridicule and laughter in Belgium was at the hands of adults, mostly females I respect most. Jealousy rules the heart of many Belgians especially  in Antwerp when they see foreigners trying to achieve something because many of them are failures.

A Dutch woman once asked me in Antwerp “You, you wrote a book?” It seems there isn’t any possibility for a black to write a book. This followed when some of her colleagues told her about my books they read online. I smiled and went away. That should have given me a little common sense to keep away from people who underestimate other people. Underestimation is everywhere. It has got nothing to do with racism, but the blacks experience it more than anyone in every community.

Then in the same school where the Dutch teacher made that statement, my trust to the teachers pushed me further to start raising fund to publish one of my books. At a school with over fifty teachers, my efforts to raise that fund became a scene of laughter. I became a center of ridicule. I didn’t get a cent, instead many of the teachers laughed at me to the extent that the director of the school got the information and said to me that’s very bad.

It is not compulsory to donate when someone is raising fund to publish a book, but what has laughter got to do with this? Meer jealousy, because they can’t stand to see the success of a black man. That is the typical character of most people in Antwerp because  they think they know too much.  My bitter experience  is one of the strategies Antwerp people used to discourage the black to follow his dreams and goals.

They want to see you among black junkies, who lack the willpower to survive the psychological games of the white man. Many of my African brothers and sisters in Belgium have developed mental problems. I refused to live like that.

For over eight years, I was the only black man in Belgium who had a press card as a journalist. Thank God, another black radio journalist has joined me. Many Belgians ask me how I got my press card. “I am qualified for it. They wrote down a dozen of things to submit if I am a writer or journalist. Then I submitted them.” That’s my answer. I have lived in Belgium for over fourteen years and still haven’t seen a black journalist on their television.

Many Africans with journalism experience who couldn’t stand the discrimination and Apartheid system of work choice in Belgium, migrated to England soon as they had their Belgium passports. I have signed on the wall. I will never migrate to any country but to stay in Belgium to progress and be successful as a writer under their nose. Today I have achieved what many of their writers and journalists couldn’t do in their entire lives.

I have published seven books and they are doing well. With the Dutch scientist, Johan Van Dongen, we wrote the English version of ‘Aids and Ebola, the greatest crime in medical history against mankind.’ The best of all is working on new projects. Life is like a driver taking a journey. If you drive carefully, you will get to your destination safely and if you drive recklessly, you will end up in an accident. My endurance and patience have crowned my efforts.

Thanks to the American media and authors, such as Beem Weeks, Mishael Austin Witty, Amy Metz, Clancy Tucker and many others who played a significant role in my career as a writer. All those who laughed at me in Belgium, now have realized they laughed at the wrong side of the mouth.

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