Last Wednesday, Simon Mol’s apartment was visited by a group of men dressed in civilian clothing. Mol initially believed them to be racist attackers, but opened the door only when he noted that they were accompanied by uniformed police officers. The police officers took him to the station, where they explained that he was accused of spreading HIV amongst women. “He was calm,” noted Officer Marek Siewert, “he didn’t admit anything, he said he wasn’t sick and that he did not infect anyone.” He also threatened to report the matter to international human rights organizations.
“Simon Mol always accused everybody of racism. When you didn’t do what he wished, he would yell that it was because he was black. He never listened to any arguments, he would always just leave, slamming the door behind him. Everyone knew that he could make his accusations public, and everyone feared it,” says a person who runs a humanitarian organization that helps refugees. “It goes without saying; he terrorized us with political correctness. And he was very charming as well.”
Simon Mol’s personality is described similarly by all who spoke with us: “very intelligent, warm, heartfelt. He perfectly mastered body language. This worked on women. He would talk to them while looking into their eyes, taking them by the hand,” says director Mariusz Orski, who cooperated with Mol’s theater.
Now, none of the women who knew Simon Mol well speak of his charm, or even of him. “Small, think, and he spoke like a frog. I was never interested in him,” says one female journalist who used to know him. “But there are so many single women, and he was single, he had an apartment, a car and money which he spent with a light hand.”
When we call a woman who was closely tied to the refugee from Cameron, we are met with silence. “I would talk to you about this person, but I don’t know him. Simon Mol? Who’s that?” she says.
We talked with people who knew Simon Mol from parties, cultural events and administrative offices. They say that he was always accompanied by women. Sometimes very attractive women, and sometimes “white mice,” sensitive, and adoring women who believed they were doing their duty towards political correctness by helping “the poor refugee.”
Simon Mol’s inner circle was fairly specific. He would usually hang out with ex-pats living in Warsaw, most of whom like to spend their time in Casablanca Cafe; most are english teachers or businessmen. “Simon Mol is healthy, and this whole affair is the result of incompetence on the part of the justice system and racism in Poland”—that is what many foriegners living in Warsaw believe to this day. They write about it on their Blogs.
But they also agree about something else: if it turns out that Mol is guilty as charged, then he is a criminal. “Already, we are starting to feel cheated. We helped him when he needed help. And if he really did what they accuse him of doing, then he destroyed much good and set back the cause of integration with foriegners by many years,” says a British writer living just outside of Warsaw who was one of Mol’s closest friends. “Is it possible that he was taking revenge against these women? But for what?” wonders Awar Gabir, a Sudanese refugee living in Poland for the past twenty years.
“Please understand: we see a man who is eduated, who wears good ties, who speaks good english. We naively believe that he is just like us, as if he were a European—just a black European,” says Prof. Ryszard Vorbrich from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan´. Vorbrich is the most respected scholar of Cameron in Poland. “When in fact, while this man might be capable of discussing Shakespeare with us in the same terms as we use, his opinions and beliefs about the most fundamental things are fundamentally different.”
Following Mol’s arrest, the Academic community specializing in Africa has found itself in an embarrasing position. Many of them knew Mol, met with him during panel discussions, or befriended him. Nevertheless, it was this academic community that immediately took to heart the accusations against him and believed them to be true.
“We don’t know what’s in Simon’s head. Cultural differences are that important,” says one Warsaw Professor, enigmatically. Many from the academic community are beginning to formulate wild hypotheses. They speak about these ideas only when assured anonymity. They say that amongst many Africans, there is a notion that AIDs can be cured by “giving it to someone else,” that is by sexual contact with a different person.
“We should never underestimate the importance of magic when discussing the behavior of Cameronians. The belief in magic is even widespread amongst their elites,” admits Prof. Vorbrich. He met Simon Mol many times. He remembered that Mol had asked him to bring a sample of tribal music back from Cameron. Mol did not want his family found, nor did he want the Professor to deliver anything to old friends. This behavior was very strange for an African. “One is led to believe that Mol associated his birthplace with a traumatic experience of some sort,” says the Professor.
Months ago, a certain woman, suffering from illness which could not be cured, tested positive for HIV. While talking to her, the doctor suddenly realized he was talking to the third woman in a short time who mentioned having had sexual contact with a man from Cameron. All of the victims immediately informed Mol that he had infected them with HIV. Mol’s reaction was always the same: he would accuse them of racism, of stereotyping, that all blacks have HIV. He would also say that even if he were sick, it is his private business.
Just prior to Christmas, the desperate women began warning of Mol over the internet. “This Man is consciously infecting women with HIV, each of them has informed him about the infection, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about the life and health of others. He is a lying, decieving and sophisticated person.”
Shortly after similar internet posts were made, the following letter was posted: “My name is Simon Mol. I am healthy. Whoever says they were infected by me should be brave enough to speak in their own name and speak of the facts, and not of what they imagine to be facts. Anything short of this is just nothing but racism, a political and racist campaign against my person because of who I am, what I do and where I come from.”
The Rzeczypospolita Newspaper has learned that Mol was diagnosed HIV positive in 1999, while living in a refugee shelter in De˛bek. According to medical procedures, it was impossible for Mol not to have learned of this fact.
The most dramatic aspect of all of this are stories about Mol forcing women to have unprotected sex with them by arguing that using a condom with a black man is a sign of racism and racist fears; that it is politically incorrect. This is coupled with the fact that for many women, having unprotected sex with a black man fulfilled two politically correct obligations: it was trendy to have sex with a black man, and it was also a sign that one was not prejudiced against blacks.
“Simon would viciously fight the view that Africa is a continent rife with catastrophe and AIDS. He would brush off suggestions that black men could be infected with HIV, he believed such suggestions to be racist stereotypes,” says a young woman who once organized meetings with Simon Mol.
Others, like director Mariusz Orski, say that it is terrible that now people are blaming blacks in general for what happened. Of Simon Mol, he says “Simon wanted to exploit white people. That is how I would describe his mentality. He felt like every white person owed him a living. I don’t know if someone once robbed him, or maybe exploited his forefathers, but now it seems Simon is evening the score. I felt this notion was fundamental to his personality.”
Simom Mol’s most well known poem, “Polish Goddess,” can now be read in a new, demonic light:
Thenas the Moon lit the path
of the beautiful Goddess
illuminating the darkness of the night
two tears ran down her left eye
ending their journey
burying all the nightmares
healing wounds foisted upon me
and upon my Brothers
by those like her