Immigrant’s Lynching in Brazil Forces Us to Confront Xenophobia and Colonialism



Protesters demonstrate in memory of the murder of 24-year-old Congolese Moïse Kabagambe and against violence against refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 5, 2022.

On February 5, protesters took to the streets of major Brazilian cities asking for justice. A young African man, Moïse Kabagambe, was lynched — tortured to death — on a beach in Rio de Janeiro in January. The alleged perpetrators, working men themselves, are in custody, and claim there was no intention to kill; that they were responding to the erratic behavior of the victim. The victim’s family, on the other hand, claims he was only asking to be remunerated for two days of work. No narrative, however, justifies what happened, which was caught on video.

To protesters, Kabagambe’s case went beyond the debate in court of whether his death was a homicide or an accident. The men involved claim their intention was to punish the immigrant for causing trouble, but the video shows how the beating went on for several minutes after Kabagambe was unresponsive, and the sheer physical stamina needed for the act implies hate was the fuel.


Written by Mirna Wabi-Sabi
Photographed by Fabio Teixeira

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