Witch Hunts In Africa

Two days back I posted about a video I watched. The video showed five elderly people being beaten and burned alive in the western district of Kisii in Kenya. Why? They had been accused of witchcraft and/or sorcery and they were being punished for their crimes by being burnt.

After further research I found that I came a bit late to this particular party. The original video I posted appears to have first surfaced in April of this year. This is also not the only incident of people being burnt, beaten, ostracised or otherwise tortured for supposedly practicing witchcraft or sorcery. This is, according to this article by the BBC (http://bit.ly/WYaSP) is so common a practice that there are no longer any elders to consult.

In my previous article I spoke at length about how stunned I was that such a thing could happen in the 21st century. My husband reminded me that it isn’t really the 21st century there. In remote villages in Africa, it IS 200 years ago. Perhaps some of modern civilization touches these areas but not enough science and logical thought are being introduced to these cultures.

This article from the New York Times (http://bit.ly/3t7NkW)  blames apartheid for the burnings. The article further claims that these burnings have been growing steadily since the 1980’s. The Chief talks about the “ungovernability of the young” and talks about how the old ways are being lost. There was once a less violent way to handle “bewitchings”. Now the youth are taking things into their own hands and the police do nothing.

Another opinion posed by this article (http://bit.ly/2I7u0c) by the Associated Press blames the increase of Pentecostal churches. According to the reporter, the number of burnings have increased in proportion with the number of churches. “Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.””. Some parishioners who attend churches have taken the teachings back to their village where it gets mixed with African traditions. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Then there are those who let the power go to their heads. There are pastors who perform exorcisms and extort exorbitant fees from the parents for this “service”. Children have been hurt and maimed during these supposed exorcisms. The mere mention of certain church names is enough to cause a group of happily playing children mentioned in this article to become frightened.

Unfortunately this is a complicated issue and there doesn’t seem to be a solution. If you remove the churches, then you remove food and medicine that secular organizations simply can’t cover. I would be interested to know what, if anything, the UN is doing about this. Are there any human rights organizations addressing this problem? There is still research to be done on this and I will be talking about it further in the future.

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Execution

I went back and read over this before publishing and realized it is a bit of a rant. I’ll ask your indulgence in that regard. Please bear with me while I make my point though.

This is something I have been pondering for a very long time. Being the analytical person I am, I’ve noticed that since around the age of 39, I have less and less tolerance for what I see as idiocy. There are times when I tend to be much quicker to be dismissive of something.

For instance, last night there was a candle light vigil for a local man who was beaten into a coma. He never woke up from that and died last week. It’s great that so many people came to the vigil. I understand the desire for the prayers and the singing and support for the loved ones left behind. Personally, *I* want to rip off the genitals of the people who did the beating and then take a baseball bat to them until they stop moving. Or, to quote Richard form my favorite web comic, “Looking For Group”….Shoot them in the face until it stops being funny.

The older I get, the less tolerance I have for people who commit violence against others because of their sexuality, ethnicity, gender or even appearance. Some days I feel that they should be treated in the exact same way that they treated their victim.

Several years back there was an instance where a few guys chained another man to the back of a pick up truck and drug him to death. I can’t imagine a more inhuman way to treat someone. And yet the perpetrators sit in a cozy jail cell, get fed three means a day, watch TV, read and continue to waste perfectly good oxygen.

Why don’t we chain these bastards up to a truck and drag THEM to death? Because it’s inhuman. We’re “better” than that.

I have to ask myself…are we REALLY? Lethal injection is cruel because most of the time the first injection, the anesthetic, isn’t properly monitored. So the criminal to be executed is not anesthetized when the second injection, the Pancuronium bromide to induce paralysis, is administered.

Our humane lethal injection is then administered to someone who is awake and paralyzed when the potassium chloride is injected to stop his or her heart. This person who was supposed to be executed humanely is actually awake and in excruciating pain according to research done back in 2005. You can read the article here: http://bit.ly/2wPsCM

So are we REALLY more humane here in the West?

As many things as I disagree with in Sharia law, there IS one thing that I think they have right. Beheading, when done properly, is more humane. It is quick. It is painless since the spinal cord is severed. Yes, I know it sounds barbaric. Consider the options. Think about it. Do some research.

What do YOU think?