Saving Africa’s Witch Children

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Just happened to catch this documentary while browsing on demand listings yesterday. I guess it originally aired in late 2008 on British television, but was recently picked up by HBO.

Good God. Infuriating, sad, and heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. These kids in villages across Nigeria are beaten, tortured, burned, starved, and murdered because some idiot religious figure deemed them witches. If they’re lucky they’re merely abandoned. National religious figures in Nigeria are getting rich selling the child witch panic by producing gruesome videos and anointing local bishops with witch-detecting power (for a fee, of course). I’ve never been moved by a documentary to immediately write a check. I wrote one last night to an organization called the Children’s Right and Rehabilitation Network, which has established a sanctuary to care for the outcast kids.

Here’s a preview. If you click through, I believe you can download the entire thing.


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54 Responses to “Saving Africa’s Witch Children

  1. #1 |  Marta Rose | 

    just too too awful.

    sometimes i’m pretty sure that god is done with the church.

  2. #2 |  KHH | 

    Actually I’m pretty sure its the other way around.

  3. #3 |  Pai | 

    It’s pretty rough for albino people in Africa too, since they’re considered ‘magical’ and their body parts are in high demand for certain ‘magic rituals’.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=5331015&page=1

  4. #4 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Before this devolves into the usual atheism-vs.-religion thread, I would just like to point out that evil people have always exploited cultural differences for their own gain. Does anybody truly believe that if Nigeria had no religions that Helen Ukpabio would be running a school for underprivileged girls?

  5. #5 |  Marta Rose | 

    oh, i hope nobody gets me wrong: i’m a pretty devout (if also often times blasphemous) christian. sometimes i just despair. that’s all. sometimes i think that god is going to move on yet again, given how much we’ve perverted the gift that the church was supposed to be. i feel the same despair when i consider the rifts in the church over homosexuality as if god gives a shit who i sleep with. sigh.

  6. #6 |  ClubMedSux | 

    My comment wasn’t directed at you, Marta, or any comment in particular. It was more a reaction to past threads on similar topics. In hindsight, I suppose my attempt to avoid such discussions will probably encourage them instead. Just goes to show that even libertarians who constantly harp about unintended consequences aren’t immune to them! ;-)

    Oh, and Radley, thanks for the link to the charity. I’ll definitely throw a few bucks their way.

  7. #7 |  J sub D | 

    Wow! Evil people use religion and the gullibility of the uneducated to further their own pursuit of wealth and power. Next we’ll hear that good people use religion to help others, sometimes at the cost of their own wealth, power or even lives.

    Such it has always been and such it will always be.

    The root of the problem is not religion, it’s evil people. This is coming from an avowed, but hardly evangelical, atheist.

  8. #8 |  Stephen | 

    Looks like the Devil has taken over the church there. Not the first it has happened and I’m sure it wont be the last.

  9. #9 |  Cyto | 

    The video kinda made me wonder how the film crew didn’t just execute the “bishop” right then and there. To paraphrase Dirty Harry: “When a confessed murderer of 110 children poisons small child in front of me, I shoot the bastard… that’s my policy.”

  10. #10 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    The tendency to scapegoat a group of individuals for societal problems, then marginalize them, then punish/abuse them, is an unfortunate aspect of human nature. It is occurring in Africa with “witches”, in muslim states with homosexuals, and in the US with drug users.

    The fact that drug users in America are not (officially) mistreated as much as the “witches”, is not because the drug warriors adhere to higher moral standards. It is merely that they can’t get away with the same level of abuse.

  11. #11 |  johnl | 

    OK Johnny but we have witches and Satan worshipers here too. Preschool operators, gamers, …

    Why aren’t there any big name Christians with moral authority who can bring their influence to bear on the situation? If it was prizefighters or mathematicians killing people, we could fly in Mohamed Ali or some Fields Prize winners to straighten people out.

  12. #12 |  BamBam | 

    This would never happen in the USA. Oh wait, it did — Salem witch trials. Might have been caused by ergot, a bacteria in rye that causes hallucinations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergot

  13. #13 |  Sky | 

    A soft spot for dogs and children Radley? Nice!

    I’ll bet you’ll make a great husband and father someday too.

    I agree with Cyto @ #9…they should have shot the Bishop on the spot.

  14. #14 |  The_Chef | 

    Let’s face it. Every “religion” has its fanatics. It doesn’t matter what it is, some moonbat will take a theory of morals and go overboard with it.

    I’m a deist … so I am comfortably on my fence.

  15. #15 |  PW | 

    Stories like this are why I do not donate money for anything to Africa, or most of the third world.

    You simply can’t help a people that are unwilling to help themselves (at least to anything other than your wallet, that is). This insane and murderous witch hunt phenomenon is a culture-wide affliction of insanity. And the sad part is it’s actually common in most sub-saharan African countries today – including many that have it written into their legal codes. But it’s not just a “crazy evangelical Christians” thing.

    The witchcraft nonsense is actually WORSE in the African countries that have large followers of those silly superstitious animist earth-worship religions that “indigenous people” practice, and that we’re all supposed to respect, celebrate, and preserve as a sign of our “tolerance” for multiculturalism and diversity. Go to places like the Congo, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Cameroon or any of the central African countries where as much as half of the population practices animist religions outright, and large parts of the remainder practice some blend between animism and Christianity or Islam. “Witchcraft” and “sorcery” are more common criminal prosecutions in their “legal system” than traffic tickets, and witch scares that lead to mass murder are routine in the villages there. But we’re not supposed to talk about that because “indigenous people” are all peaceful and at one with nature, right?

    Or even look at the Islamic world, including wealthy Islamic states like Saudi Arabia. Fortune tellers and common street entertainers are routinely put to death for practicing “magic” and “sorcery.” The house of Saud, America’s great “ally,” is currently seeking the death penalty against a Lebanese TV game show host who did a fortune telling shtick.

    I’m sorry if I sound callous, but any society that is stupid enough to believe in witchcraft in this modern day and age does not deserve to be helped. Period. If some brave private charity somewhere is able to help the children victims of this nonsense escape their insane and hellish shithole countries, more power to them. But for the adults that sanction and participate in this shit – especially against children – they deserve nothing more than a life of poverty, starvation, AIDS, civil war, and a generally miserable and hellish existence without so much as a tear shed on their behalf, because what they are doing to their own neighbors and their own families is pure evil – as evil as slavery, if not more so seeing as it often ends in death for its victims.

  16. #16 |  MattJ | 

    Witch children in trouble? Sounds like someone needs to tell Dwayne Johnson!

  17. #17 |  PW | 

    The Salem witch trials happened “here” over 300 fucking years ago in a town that was essentially a wacky fringe theocratic religious cult. And it was backwards for society even back then.

    It’s 2010, and we’ve long since moved beyond that superstition. There is NO excuse for witch hunts today, anywhere in the world. Period. It’s like slavery. It existed one time in the past, was terrible, and was rightfully abolished by the civilized world centuries ago. And anyone anywhere who still practices it today is just plain evil.

  18. #18 |  PW | 

    Every religion has its fanatics, but some are worse than the others.

    The mainstream branches of Judaism and Christianity have generally modernized in the 21st century, even if their precursors did have witch hunts.

    Islam is notoriously resistant to modernity though, hence executions for “sorcery” are still part of the legal system in many muslim countries.

    And then there’s the animist religions of Africa and some of the aboriginal societies of the Pacific, which make witchhunts a central feature of their “faith” and which often attempt to fuse those features onto outsider religions like Christianity and Islam (hence the example in this story about Nigeria).

    It has become unfortunately taboo for the civilized world to call these “religions” what they are: batshit crazy superstition cults. We’re supposed to respect them instead for their multiculturalism, and whenever they fuse their witch hunt rituals onto a more modernized religion like Christianity that has mostly moved past that, it’s the Christianity that gets blamed. But there’s no escaping the fact that this sort of nonsense occurs far more frequently in societies that still cling to “indigenous” superstitious beliefs.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    Fear is powerful. When people are afraid, they’ll believe anything. Like locking people up in Gitmo forever in order to make America safe.

    Religion is like any other tool of society. You can use a hammer to build a house or bash in heads. Hammers and religion aren’t the problem, its people. We need to hold individuals accountable, not their beliefs. Otherwise, we aren’t any better then they are.

  20. #20 |  Aresen | 

    PW | June 13th, 2010 at 11:25 pm
    The Salem witch trials happened “here” over 300 fucking years ago in a town that was essentially a wacky fringe theocratic religious cult. And it was backwards for society even back then.

    Good point. Even the pre-eminent Puritan theologians of the time, Cotton and Increase Mather, strongly condemned the Salem Witch Trials.

  21. #21 |  Aresen | 

    OTOH, is there any way that we could persuade people that all Congresscritters got their jobs through witchcraft?

  22. #22 |  PW | 

    #19 – The point is that not all religions are equal when it comes to the beliefs and practices they encourage. An animist religion that makes weekly ritual cannibalism its main form of worship is a lot more problematic for a free society than a mainline Christian church that simply instructs its members show up for an hour one morning a week.

    Sub-Saharan Africa is obsessed with witchcraft precisely because it still adheres to the superstitious relics of a very primitive, violent, and superstitious animist religious culture. Many Arab countries are obsessed with witchcraft precisely because they are theocracies professing a state religion that is perpetually mired in the 7th century. Those religions are the tool, but they are also a symptom that the problem is much deeper than their simple use as a tool.

    To borrow your hammer analogy, it’s the difference between an ordinary toolbox hammer and a mace with spikes on the end of it. Both can be used in deadly ways, but the latter is intentionally designed to cause death as its primary function.

  23. #23 |  PW | 

    Also of note about the Salem witch trials: the entire witch hunt craze was started by a slave who was practicing superstitious African animist rituals and was accused of teaching them to several women in the town.

  24. #24 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    Glad to see you wear your biases proudly on the your sleeve. I can’t even get into fact-checking your rants because they are so filled with errors, generalizations, and outright nonsense.

    Obviously, the practices demonstrated in this documentary are horrible and should be stopped. No excuses should be accepted. However, you practice the same kind of privilege and bias that infects our own society and leads to the otherization and marginalization of different groups. When OUR country practices witchhunts, it wasn’t really US, it was some fringe group a long time ago that we don’t connect with. When certain members of an African country practice witchhunts, it demonizes that whole continent and two different religions.

    Whites fail as individuals and succeed as a group; PoCs fail as a group and succeed as individuals. And on and on we go. Sigh…

  25. #25 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    A few facts:

    Tituba, the slave you referred to, in all likelihood hailed from South America or the Caribbean and was of Native American blood. And while it’s possible she was exposed to West African religions, the “magic” she confessed to was all European in nature and did not have any relation to West African religions outside the most vague and general sense.

    The concept of “African animist religions” is deeply flawed. To paint with such a broad brush is to ignore the rich variety and diversity that exists within the continent’s belief systems. You are talking about people who live thousands of miles apart as if they are part of a unified belief system, which is simply false. 85% of Africans practice some form of Islam or Christianity. Yes, locally, these specific practices are informed by more traditional African religions, but this varies from place to place. Use of the term animist is dismissed by most cultural anthropologists as being inaccurate and biases in describing the belief systems.

    While there have been fairly modern accounts of cannibalism in certain areas of Africa, the idea that there are weekly cannabalistic sacrifices is simply a lie. There is no evidence to support the assertion. Yes, it has happened, most often during times of war and/or famine, but it no way is it consider typical or acceptable, as most people accused have been brought to trial. Again, to generalize the actions of a few to an entire continent would be akin to someone saying Americans practice cannibalism as a result of Jeffrey Dahmer’s actions. Would that be fair?

    You rant about some supposed secret agenda promoting tolerance or multiculturalism, something NO ONE here as even spoke about. That is the ultimate strawman and demonstrates your own obsession with this fictitious war. This is not the first time you have brought it up out of nowhere. No one is calling for this practice to be accepted or tolerated. Everyone here has denounced it. Yet you want to claim that those of us who don’t want to demonize an entire country, religion, or continent are somehow protecting them under the guise of tolerance. False, false, false. My argument, and what I’ve seen articulated by most others here, has been that this is obviously a vile and horrific practice and anyone engaged in it should be rightly punished (as the government of Nigeria is now doing, thankfully). Furthermore, what this practice demonstrates is the long-practiced method of using religion to exploit the fears and/or ignorance of others. That has happened time and time again in every religion and culture known to man. Does that make religion inherently bad? Nope. But it does demonstrate the way in which its power can be bastardized and used in direct conflict with the true ideas behind the belief system. To point that out, that this practice is not unique in the common sense, is not some failed attempt at “multiculturalism”. It’s based in trying to better understand the root cause and ultimately making changes. If the issue, as you claim, is simply that people from Africa are dumb and are prone to this type of behavior, than the only solution would be to wipe them off the planet. If we rightfully recognize it as an abuse of power (one that libertarians themselves are well-aware of), then we must look at ways to disarm that power and/or promote its appropriate usage.

  26. #26 |  Marta Rose | 

    i love it when folks attribute the horrifying things africans do to each other to some sort of inherent, culture-wide affliction, while extolling the virtues of western modernity, as though european culture could never sanction such ruthlessness….

  27. #27 |  brewskymc | 

    Very sad, regardless of whomever or whatever ideology is at fault… and worse yet, I must confess, the first thing that I thought of when Radley commented about being moved to immediately write a check was the cat juggling scene from “The Jerk”.

  28. #28 |  Cackalacka | 

    Best part about this phenomenon as it relates to my denomination (Episcopalean):

    Several years ago, bigots were using the opinions of the 3rd world Anglican Communion, namely that offending the African communions (i.e. Nigeria) was a principle reason to not offer gay congregants the dignity of participation and leadership.

    Ignoring the ‘animist’ tendencies of the 3rd world congregants was racist, or so we were told.

  29. #29 |  Zargon | 

    Don’t sit around thinking we’re all that superior. Just replace traditional religion with cop-worship and our culture does pretty much the exact same thing.

    Traditional religion has been effectively defanged in the western world. That doesn’t mean that magical thinking doesn’t still plague us in the exact same way, causing good men to do and support evil.

  30. #30 |  Marty | 

    Zargon-

    well said.

    apologists for religion sound just like apologists for the state… it all sounds like a bunch of 15 year olds arguing about which brand of pickup truck is best- they just spew whatever it is that there dads told them and, because they’re true believers, will fight for what they feel is ‘right’. We can’t let reason or facts muddle up a good argument…

  31. #31 |  sadfsda | 

    Africa + Christianity = dangerously stupid.

  32. #32 |  PW | 

    BSK – A couple questions:

    1. Do you deny that the Salem witch hunts were the product of a fringe theocratic society over 300 years ago?

    2. Are you aware that similar incidents have not been widespread in the civilized portions of the world in centuries, even though they take place on a daily basis in parts of Africa and the Middle East?

    3. Do you deny that they have been looked back upon with nearly UNIVERSAL condemnation by the civilized world ever since, and were even condemned in their own time by less fanatical Puritans?

    4. Do you deny that witchcraft prosecutions and persecutions are carried out in most of sub-saharan Africa today at a much higher frequency than Salem, and that in many central African countries (as well as islamic countries) they are even a codified part of the criminal justice system?

    5. Do you deny that in central Africa, the very same superstition-based animist religions that drive most of these witch hunts are OPENLY practiced by as much as half of the population, and not so covertly melded into Christianity or Islam by a large portion of the remainder?

    6. Do you deny that thousands of innocent people are put to death every single year by both judicial and extra-judicial means in countries that ascribe to the witchcraft hysteria, the vast majority of them being in Africa and the Islamic world?

    I realize you are a whole-hearted follower of the Church of Multiculturalism (and you call me biased!) and that you seem to be “offended” when I call animist religions a load of superstitious bullshit with frequent and demonstrable proclivities toward becoming murderous death cults. But to the victims of their witch hunts it literally is a matter of life and death, so whether or not it offends your multiculturalist sensibilities to say so doesn’t even really weigh upon my concerns in the slightest.

  33. #33 |  PW | 

    “Again, to generalize the actions of a few to an entire continent would be akin to someone saying Americans practice cannibalism as a result of Jeffrey Dahmer’s actions. Would that be fair?”

    The difference is we don’t elevate Jeffrey Dahmer to positions of military and civilian authority, up to and including our head of state. The same cannot be said for the witchcraft-obsessed portions of Africa.

    Oh, and the most recent scholarly opinion on Tituba is that she was “Indian” in the sense that she was a slave purchased from the Spanish West INDIES, likely either African herself or part African and part Carib (the word “cannibal,” interestingly enough, being an English bastardization of “caribal,” root Carib, in reference to the Carib war practice of chewing upon the flesh of a vanquished enemy to “inherit” his strength…another superstitious death cult religion)

  34. #34 |  PW | 

    #29 – I’d argue that cop-worship in this country is more of a brute appeal to raw coercion than a substitute for religion. Witch hunts are the product of mob frenzy induced by a widespread belief in pure superstitious nonsense. They are two very different edges of a similar sword.

  35. #35 |  PW | 

    Or let me put it another way that perhaps even you can understand, BSK:

    U.S. witch hunts = a single small group of Puritan theocrats over 300 years ago.

    African & Middle Eastern witch hunts = the GOVERNMENTS of Central African Republic/Cameroon/The Gambia/Togo/Saudi Arabia/(Insert Random third world dumpster nation here) last week.

    Don’t try to excuse it and don’t try to draw equivalency with something that happened centuries ago, because there is none. Witch hunts are like slavery: they are pure evil, period. And so is any government that sanctions or permits them to exist in this day and age.

  36. #36 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    I think you closed your case when you referred to them as “dumpster nations”. Well done, sir. I realize trying to discuss matters with you is like trying to talk to a wall. So I just won’t try anymore.

  37. #37 |  Marta Rose | 

    what about first-world dumpster nations like germany and russia?

  38. #38 |  Level Head | 

    “The difference is we don’t elevate Jeffrey Dahmer to positions of military and civilian authority, up to and including our head of state. The same cannot be said for the witchcraft-obsessed portions of Africa.”

    And there I was thinking that George W. Bush had been quoted as having spoken to ‘God’ who had been telling him what to do …. like invading other countries? …. doesn’t sound that dissimilar to me.

  39. #39 |  PW | 

    Considering the general abundance of government everywhere, most nations are dumpster nations. It’s just that some parts of the world stand out as exceptionally hellish.

    That includes most of Africa and a good part of the Islamic world. To pretend that their stone age and 7th century religious beliefs, respectively, have nothing to do with it is to ignore the obvious.

    It’s about as valid as arguing that Mississippi’s treatment of gays has nothing to do with all the Southern Baptists there.

    And one can fairly make that assessment despite completely empathizing with the people who have the misfortune of being born in the corrupt and oppressive squalor of what are indeed dumpster nations.

  40. #40 |  sane | 

    It’s funny how religion runs rampant among uneducated people. Another reason to be an agnostic and/or atheist. Reality isn’t fucking lord of the rings ,jesus christ

  41. #41 |  Bill | 

    I have written a book on the Salem witch trials. It is available at http://www.justiceatsalem.com. You can download and read the PDF for free or just buy the book on Amazon.

  42. #42 |  PW | 

    So first it was the Salem witch trials in the 1600’s = people in Africa murdering suspected witches last week. Now it’s Bush invading Iraq = Idi Amin eating people?

    And the moral equivalence keeps getting stranger.

    Most politicians with a military end up using it at some point for something deadly – that’s the nature, and evil, of government. Not many turn what that military leaves behind into dinner though.

  43. #43 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    You simply selectively ignore all the evidence that refutes your claims. You point to executions in the Middle East, ignoring that America had the 5th most reported executions in the world. Now, here is where you’ll respond with, “So you’re going to compare X to Y?” No. I’m not. I’m not engaging in cultural or moral relativism, as much as you’d like to pretend I am so you can argue against it. But it is a bit tricky to try to take the moral high ground on an issue when we are still engaged in it. Now, how about exorcisms or possessions? As recently as 1974 and 1999, the Church of England and Catholic Church, respectively, took action officially recognizing exorcism as a function of their religion. Does that mean I’m arguing that some random Catholic priest in Kansas somewhere is equivalent to the “Bishop” in the documentary who admitted to killing 122 kids? God no. But to act as if the concept of possession/exorcism is unique to “animist” religions of Africa is patently false.

    I’m sure you’ll find a way to dismiss these as fringe actions/ideas not represented by the mainstream while extrapolating the actions of SOME Africans to the continent as a whole (as well as a neighboring region). And you’ll probably have no problem doing this. In doing so, you’ll perfectly demonstrate my earlier point, whereby you have one set of standards for yourself and the groups you identify with and a completely different one for other groups. The negative actions of the members of ONE group do not reflect on that group as a whole for America/whites/western culture, but it does for Africa/people of color/non-western cultures. Are you REALLY okay with that? If so, own it and stop dancing around pretending to be saying something else or simply making observations.

    Oh yea… and don’t forget those two positions taken by the Anglican Church and Catholic Church on exorcism… you know, the ones that happened within the past 40 years… came from up on high. So if you want to reject the LEADERS OF THESE TWO RELIGIONS as fringe elements not representative of the group, you’re got an uphill battle in front of you.

  44. #44 |  c | 

    “An animist religion that makes weekly ritual cannibalism its main form of worship is a lot more problematic for a free society than a mainline Christian church that simply instructs its members show up for an hour one morning a week.”

    Um, look up the word “transubstantiation”. Most of the Christian religions (Catholic and Orthodox) have symbolic ritual cannibalism as their central sacrament each week! Have you ever been to church?

  45. #45 |  PW | 

    BSK –

    Do you honestly not see the difference between executing somebody convicted of MURDER in the US and executing somebody convicted of “casting spells” in Saudi Arabia or the Central African Republic?

    I’m no fan of the death penalty, but acknowledging that it exists, it is farcical to suggest a moral equivalence between these two things. You can also deny that you are suggesting equivalence (or that you subscribe to the church of multiculturalism) all you want, but when you do exactly that only a sentence prior to your denial it automatically betrays you. Especially when you immediately revert to similar acts of moral equivalence, all seemingly aimed at making excuses for the inexcusable.

    I’m sorry, but when countries repeatedly select Idi Amin types as their leader for decades upon decades, it isn’t just some small fringe corner of society that’s keeps “getting lucky” and getting to run the place. That’s like saying that Stalin was just a fluke, a small “fringe element” of a Soviet culture that was “not representative” of the USSR. In reality he was representative of the USSR, just as Idi Amin, Charles Taylor, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Yayah Jammeh, and the rest are representative of the corrupt and backwards societies that produced and elevated them to power: the problem runs throughout the society itself.

    Catholic church exorcisms generally don’t kill people, BSK. African witch hunts do. The number of religious ritual-induced deaths in the US any given year are few to none at all. In Africa it is in the thousands, and probably more considering that the place is comparatively lawless and murders go under-reported.

    We’re not talking about some abstract hypothetical here, BSK. We are talking about HUMAN LIVES. And the disparity conclusively demonstrates that there isn’t even a valid comparison to make between the two.

  46. #46 |  Bartholomew | 

    I wrote about the original documentary when it appeared on British TV:

    http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/channel-4-highlights-nigerian-witch-children/

    CRARN also has a Facebook page:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=311204002120&ref

    I know that any efforts to spread the word in the USA would be much appreciated.

  47. #47 |  BSK | 

    You act as if I’m condoning the actions of these priests. That is where your rant began. Those of us who denounced the actions and the role that religion played in them without denouncing the continent as a whole were somehow deemed by you to be “multicultralists” or whatever. I can think of few things worse than what the people featured in the documentary are doing. But I’m not ready to demonize an entire continent that is full of hundreds of cultures and religions because of the actions of a very horrible few. Are there larger systemic and societal issues at play that make such situations easier to arise in Africa than North America? Absolutely. Does that mean the entire continent is full of stupid dumpster people? Hardly. My point is not to justify the actions of these murderers.

    You also ask as if the West’s hands are clean. Maybe we don’t ritually exorcise and kill children. But last I checked, there’s never been a nuclear bomb utilized by an African or Muslim nation. There’s never been a racially based slavery system. One of the world’s largest and most systematic genocide was committed by white Europeans. So, yea, there are some atrocities happening in Africa and the Middle East, which may be partially informed by the local cultures and religions. But to act as if the rest of humanity is somehow isolated from treating fellow man like shit is ridiculous. Is Catholic exorcism the same as what was seen in the doc? No. The doc demonstrates far worse actions. Does the doc demonstrate a worse action than nuking two civilian cities? I’d argue no.

  48. #48 |  BSK | 

    And, yes, I realize that there is a vast difference between acts of war and these exorcisms. I’m not attempting to draw a direct comparison to the two. I’m simply stating that you need to realize everyone, regardless of continent of origin, religion, ethnicity, or race is capable, both individually and collectively, and some pretty horrible shit. We can just as easily trace the problems in Africa to imperialism as we can to animist religions. But imperialism makes it partially OUR problem where the animist religions makes it entirely their own. You opt to discuss the factors that ignore the larger issues at play facing the nations/cultures/continents you’ve spoken about because they require you to recognize our own collective accountability.

  49. #49 |  PW | 

    Condoning them, no. But you are definitely downplaying the severity and widespread reach of their evil by trying to create false moral equivalencies with the civilized world.

    Nor did I call the people of Africa “dumpster people” which they most certainly are not. I called their countries “dumpster nations” – a reference to their completely fucked up political systems, many of which openly encourage these deadly witch hunts by codifying it as a crime and widely “prosecuting” it in their judicial systems. If you believe that the political systems of the overwhelming majority of African countries are not completely fucked up, I invite you to show me evidence to support your case. Otherwise I stand by the accuracy of my description of them as dumpster nations.

  50. #50 |  PW | 

    “We can just as easily trace the problems in Africa to imperialism as we can to animist religions.”

    That’s a cop out. Africa was a fucked up, war-torn place long before the Europeans arrived there and has remained so long after they left. European imperialism did not put Idi Amin or Mobutu Sese-Seko in power.

    We also know that imperialism is not a sufficient explanation for why Africa is so fucked up because the same is not true of numerous other former European colonies in the Caribbean and South America. That also includes many very stable colonies with majority black populations, the only recurring exception being Haiti which (a) has been independent from European rule for over 200 years and (b) is the western hemisphere’s primary practitioner of African animist-based religion.

  51. #51 |  BSK | 

    Now you’re just being obtuse. Are you serious??? Africa was not any more war-torn before imperialism than any other area in the world. But centuries of imperialism, enslavement, the artificial designation of political entities, and missionary work have had far-reaching impacts on Africa that are still being felt today. To deny that is to deny reality.

    You are the worst example of the angry, bitter white man. I’m just going to ignore you from now on since you are clearly little more than a troll.

  52. #52 |  PW | 

    South America had “centuries of imperialism, enslavement, the artificial designation of political entities, and missionary work” but is nowhere near the level of fucked up that Africa is.

    The Caribbean had “centuries of imperialism, enslavement, the artificial designation of political entities, and missionary work” but is nowhere near the level of fucked up that Africa is.

    I also find it interesting that (1) you assume this discussion is racial, despite the fact that I never said a word about race save to point out that many black-majority Caribbean ex-colonies are doing just fine, and (2) you presume to know what my race is. If anything, you’ve just betrayed yourself as the skin color-obsessed one among us.

  53. #53 |  Tam | 

    FOR THE ATTENTION OF PW [POST 15]

    PW [post 15] is nothing but an ignorant and arrogant fool. How dare you insult African Animism? The problem is not African Animism but Christianity. The Bishop did not called upon the name of an African God but the name of Jesus. Didn’t he? These people are Christians and not Animists. Even if they are Christians with one foot in African Animism, they are mostly Christians and do not call upon the African Gods but your foolish Christian God. Take a look at your evil Christianity which has gone around the world butchering people, enslaving, stealing and prostituting people in order to achieve ecstasy and to line their coffers before you dare to insult African Animism. I belong to the Serere tribe and an Orthodox Serere [an orthodox Serere Animist for your information]. In my culture, we do not follow such evil practice. I can speak for many orthodox African Animistic religions throughout the African Continent who do not engage in such barbarism. African Animism in most cases is not evil or devil worship. It is a lie fabricated your White forefathers who could not understand and will never understand it because it is not for them to understand. That lie has been passed on to you – their descendants. Where such evil is practiced under the guise of African Animism, you should look under the surface and you shall find evil Christianity or Islam lurking behind it. These are the Africans who abandoned the religions of their forefathers in favour of these foreign cults called Christianity and Islam. Religions you people have forced upon them. As they struggle to worship two Gods from two different cultures, they get confused and lost all sense of credibility and result to actions beyond one’s comprehension. You cannot be devoted to the African Gods and at the same time bowing to the Christian or Muslim God. It will not work. It will never work. You are either an orthodox/pure African Animist or you are not. You can’t have it both ways. This is not to say that there are not certain things within African Animism which does not need changing for the age we live in. Yes! There are certain practices within African Animism which needs to move on with the times but the same can be said for Christianity and Islam. To put it another way, there are good and bad things in African Animism just like there are good and bad in Christianity. It all depends on the follower. People like you of course see no good in African Animism because of your ignorance and arrogance. Well! Tell me how many people have died through the past centuries as a result of African Animism and those who have died and suffered as a result of Christianity and partner in crime [Islam]. Therefore, before you come here again insulting African Animism you should take a look at your ghastly Christianity. Whilst you are at it, take a look at evil Islam. These two evil cults have been the instigators of all evils throughout the centuries.

    You dare to insult the African Religions! You! A Christian! Don’t make me laugh.

  54. #54 |  Morning Links | The Agitator | 

    […] has a big story on the Nigerian children accused of witchcraft. I posted on the heartbreaking documentary Saving Africa’s Child Witches a couple months […]

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