February 17, 2016

"Accused of being a witch, the tiny boy had spent months trying to survive on the streets."

"[W]e heard that the child was only 2 to 3 years old.... A child that young cannot survive a long time alone on the streets.... Thousands of children are being accused of being witches...."

33 comments:

sdharms said...

and we believe we can bring peace and democracy to these people? and their country's vote in the UN counts the same as ours?

Nonapod said...

Apparently I've reached my limit for WaPo articles this month and I don't feel like disabling javascript on my browser just to read this one. Anyone mind writing up a quick cliff notes?

jr565 said...

Why isn't Maddona adopting this kid?

Gahrie said...

Tell me again that all cultures are equally valid....

Fernandinande said...

Belief in witchcraft is widespread in parts of Africa,

"Parts" meaning "most".

My friend the witch doctor
"Even more interesting to us was the universal understanding that white people were not vulnerable to witchcraft and could neither feel it nor understand it. White people literally lack a crucial sense, or part of the brain.
...
A colleague pointed out a few weeks ago, after hearing this story, that if it [witchcraft] is nearly pan-African then perhaps some of it came to the New World. Prominent and not so prominent talkers from the American Black population come out with similar theories of vague and invisible forces that are oppressing people, like “institutional racism” and “white privilege”. Then I recalled that the most prominent atheist among the Herero I knew was the son of a German engineer and a Herero woman."

sdharms said...

To Nonapod, the Cliffs notes version: some aid worker (white woman, UK) found this 2yr old boy alone on the streets, estimated he had been alone for a few weeks, he was skin and bones, had worms, she gave him water in a photo op, held him for a photo op, took him to hospital and he is being treated for worms and nursed back to "health".

Fernandinande said...

African Children Denounced As "Witches" By Christian Pastors

Child 'witches' and killings in Africa: Why the little ones are safer in Muslim than Christian societies

Children accused of witchcraft may be subjected to violent exorcism rituals by African Pentecostal-Charismatic pastors who mix Christianity with African witchcraft beliefs

Unicef:
"The daily routine and constant references to witchcraft are as much part of common sense as "natural behaviour" (de Sardan, 1989: 128). The witchcraft discourse has taken over not only the private sphere but through mass media has also entered the public domain. It receives front page coverage in weekly magazines containing "extraordinary" and "shocking" stories about witches, while radio programmes broadcast confessions and personal experiences of witchcraft. Witchcraft is present in churches, schools, hospitals, and sometimes even in the courthouse. Today, it is omnipresent in the daily lives of many African populations. According to Adam Ashforth, an anthropologist working in Soweto, "they [Sowetans] live in a world with witches." (2001: 208)"

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

That a kid so young has survived on the streets for so long is pretty good evidence that he really is a witch.

Ian F. Shield said...

I'm sure that Western imperialism and oppression, the G.W. Bush administration, the Tea Party movement, and Netanyahu are all somehow to blame for this. I mean, if we're allowed to disapprove of labeling a small child a witch when done by "diverse" peoples.

n.n said...
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n.n said...

Abortion rites (e.g. reactive parenthood) are a progressive (forward and backward in time) form of the limited witch trials, and an [ancient] practice of appealing to [mortal] gods for wealth, pleasure, and leisure. If it cries, it's a baby, but can be cannibalized (e.g. Planned Parenthood). If it doesn't cry, it isn't a baby, and it can be cannibalized.

n.n said...

Some societies even believe that white-colored people can be cannibalized to recover their desirable properties. It's really a diverse culture that developed with great leaps in axioms and progressed with constructed congruences.

Steve Uhr said...
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Big Mike said...

Witchcraft, socialism, anthropogenic global warming, there's no end to the crazy things nominally intelligent people believe in despite all rational evidence to the contrary.

Michael said...

Awesome cultures abound!

Michael said...

BTW, if that aid worker had donated the money to the village instead of to the tattoo artist the village could have taken a year off.

Robert Cook said...

"and we believe we can bring peace and democracy to these people?"

What makes you think "we" (by which I assume you mean the American government) believe we can or want to bring peace and democracy to these people?

Robert Cook said...

BTW, that some commenters feel a reflexive need to respond to this dismaying story with snark is really nauseating.

William said...

It's even more dismaying that some of the commenters at the Washington Post are blaming the plight of this child on evangelical Christians.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...BTW, that some commenters feel a reflexive need to respond to this dismaying story with snark is really nauseating.

Sorry for your discomfort, Bobby C. Some people feel nausea when things are shoved down their throats...for example being made to believe that all cultures are equally valid, that diversity is strength, that we in the West don't have any right to judge other cultures in any way (to do so is racist, imperialist, etc)...so there's probably nausea enough to go around.

n.n said...

William:

blaming the plight of this child on evangelical Christians

Exactly. That is the point. The Christian religion and faith have a scientific orientation, or a separation of logical domains. The Christians who conducted the witch trials acted on their own beliefs, traditions, fears, and interests. The same reasons as progressive liberals and "good Americans" in the pro-choice cult who conduct abortion rites and clinical cannibalism while maintaining a peculiar belief in spontaneous human conception.

John Cunningham said...

Our divine Leader, Comrade Urkel, is so wise to bring in millions of these Paragons of Diversity to improve our society.

Anglelyne said...
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CachorroQuente said...

"Witchcraft, socialism, anthropogenic global warming, there's no end to the crazy things nominally intelligent people believe in despite all rational evidence to the contrary."

True that.

Nancy Reyes said...

The article says the kids are abandoned due to witchcraft... but doesn't give any other information.

Background: when I worked in Africa, unexpected deaths/illnesses often were blamed on witches. The "witchdoctor" usually would find you had sinned or mistreated someone, and were being punished so you held a ceremony to cure you. Witchdoctors diagnose being bewitched, but like all parctitioners, a few turned to the dark side to show their power.

...One other thing: When HIV started killing people, and western medicine didn't work, a lot of people went back to traditional ways to heal, and gave these evil shamans an opportunity to expand their power...Hence the reports of raped virgins to cure HIV or that albinos were being killed for body parts.

These accusations of witchcraft might be behind some of these children being abandoned, but we have no proof in the article if this accusation caused a dozen abandoned kids or if the thousands of abandoned street kids are due to this.

But it ironic that the article resulted in lots of comments that blame Christians for this, and/or have the implication that Africans are savages for abandoning kids this way. Uh, racism anyone? One wonders why no one blames Buddhism for the street kids of Thailand or Hinduism for the street kids of India. Here in the Philippines, the blame is on the Catholic church for not allowing these kids to be aborted. But often it is the temples/churches and other local religious outreaches that rescue these kids...


And, of course, the rescuer is a white lady from Europe. Ha. I laughed. What a nice photo op...

What, no locals working with street kids? UNICEF could probably fund five locals to rescue and care for kids for the cost of funding this one "blond" European lady (and probably does, but they won't get their photos in the WAPost).

Fernandinande said...

n.n said...
The Christian religion and faith have a scientific orientation, or a separation of logical domains.


Bullshit. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.": "Stop Transporting Exodus 22:18 to Africa, Evangelists; It’s Killing and Torturing Children."

William said...
It's even more dismaying that some of the commenters at the Washington Post are blaming the plight of this child on evangelical Christians.


What makes you think that's not the case? Superstitions have a lot of overlap.

Christian militias in Central African Republic 'burnt witches at stake', says UN report

Elisha Telena, a Neo-Pentecostal pastor in Jos, told me another story about witchcraft. He said he had discovered witches in his congregation.

The subject of witchcraft is like a wildfire in Africa which is threatening to burn and distort the Christian faith. It is a common belief found not only among average Christians but one that dominates even pastoral and evangelistic endeavors.

The Godfather said...

When I was in college in the first half of the '60's, I took courses on Imperialism and post-Imperialism. At that time, scholars and policy-makers had great hopes that Nigeria would be one of the success stories of post-Imperialism. Didn't turn out that way. I don't know whether there really is a widespread persecution of child "witches" as portrayed in the story. I'm pretty sure, though, that the hopes of Africans and Europeans that Africans would be better off running their own countries have . . . shall we say: not been fully realized.

Quaestor said...

It seems to me that the worst thing about the European colonialism is that it ended too soon.

Eric said...

To be fair, that kid does kinda look like a witch.

Quaestor said...

The much reviled scramble for Africa started in the late 19th century. In less than a century all those nasty racist colonial outposts were gone. Whatever positive influence these imperial enterprises could have had evidently didn't take -- not enough time. To put it perspective it took the Romans 400 years to convert the tattooed headhunting Gauls into proto-Frenchmen. If Claudius had withdrawn the legions from Britannia rather than complete the conquest of what was to become England, what would have been the fate of Europe? What if Caesar had submitted to the Senate, and his illegal annexation of Gaul had been repudiated. Would we now think of French cuisine as just minor variations on roast pork?

European civilization (and ours by extension) is owed more than any other thing to Roman Imperialism. At first the Celts, Gauls and Germans resented Roman dominance, but when that dominating power was removed they longed for its return for centuries, even as late as the dawn of the 19th century French republicanism and its Napoleonic successor looked to Rome as its model.

William said...

@ferdinandhe: I scanned the articles you presented. There's no doubt that there are many ignorant and cruel people in Africa. I can't help but think that Christianity, properly understood, would help them overcome their superstitions rather than exacerbate them. I think Christians deserve the same amount of forbearance as the Muslims in this regard. At any rate there do seem to be many more atrocities in Muslim areas of Africa than in the Christian ones. And I'm sure the typical Washington Post commenter would not extrapolate anything negative about the Muslim religion from that simple fact.

Char Char Binks said...

Islamic terrorism gets a bad rap, but it seems to be the best thing going in Africa.

Rusty said...

It's tribal Fernqndinade. Tribes belived in witches long before christianity showed up. It actually plays into the cloud cukkoo land bekiefs of muslims.