jimmy Mubenga-Normalising or resisting complicity? parallax 1


Normalising or resisting complicity?

An insight into the responses of witness to the forced removal of Mr Mubenga is useful to extend our understanding of the complex emotions arising from his death. On the one hand, the witnesses who spoke out have greatly contributed to making this case visible to the public and, thereby, initiating investigations and inquests. On the other hand, however, when passengers witness deportations in commercial flights, they too run risks if they speak up. Passengers who were present when Mr Mubenga was killed have made comments later such as:

  • “I didn’t get involved because I was scared I would get kicked off the flight and lose my job. But that man paid a higher price than I would have.” (Michael, 51, a US citizen).
  • Other witnesses were reluctant to give their full names, fearing for their safety in Angola (The Guardian, 2010).
  • Is witnessing the distress of a deportee becoming normalised? “Wallis told his wife it was a deportation, and put the phone down” (Lewis and Taylor, 2010).


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