Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"It's wiiiiiiiitchcraft...."

According to a recent story released by CNN today, child witchcraft allegations are significantly increasing in parts of Africa, as thousands of children have been attacked, beaten or killed.

Witches? Really? I thought witchcraft went out with the Eagles.

Anyway, not only are children being physically assaulted, but they face significant emotional and psychological trauma from the exclusion and hatred that comes with being branded as a witch by one’s own family or community. Well, duh! That kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it?

The accused children are mostly boys, ages 8 to 14 years of age with orphans, street children, albinos, and disabled – particularly, those suffering from autism or Down’s syndrome - as the most at risk, said the United Nations Children's Fund in its report. Oh great, so it’s not bad enough that you’re an albino orphan living on the streets of poorest, darkest Africa but now you also have to content with allegations of being a witch? Beautiful! And here I thought not being voted Prom King was the end of the world as I knew it.

Imagine those additions to the popular Sinatra tune:

“Those emaciated fingers through my bleached blonde hair
That blank come hither stare
That strips my common sense bare
It’s witchcraft”

To make matters worse, the public have taken to performing exorcisms on these unfortunate children in an effort to “cleanse” them of their witchery; often enlisting the aid of the community preacher or religious leader. Such exorcisms include the pouring petrol into the children's eyes or ears, and forcing them to swallow various substances. These exorcisms can cost up to USD$250. Hell, I’m in the wrong business! Two hundred and fifty smackers for the easy 20 minute job of pouring gasoline into the face of a hungry child?

Can you say “Ka-ching?!” Easy money!

It just sounds like something I might expect from any fraternity hazing stunt or something. Booze – petrol; potatoe – potato.

A report from UNICEF identifies four categories of child witchcraft. The first is children accused of acts of witchcraft. The second is children who have been killed or exorcized because their bodies have been inhabited by demons. The third involves albino children, and the fourth concerns babies who have been born with complications or whose labors were abnormal or difficult.

As I see it, this is just another example of the never-ending depths of human stupidity. Which, by the way, brings up another valid question of where did all the money go exactly that we channeled into Africa for education? Clearly, it has hasn’t reached its intended target has it? Or are accredited African universities now offering “Witchcraft 101” courses as part of their undergraduate curricula’s?

So where’s Bob Geldof now?

The countries worst affected by this trend are Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria. In many parts of these countries, albino children are killed so that their body parts may be harvested. I wonder how much the going rate is for Albino soufflé anyway.

“Mmm, albino soufflé …”

Many cultures practicing indigenous religions believe that the hair, skin, eyes and limbs of albino children have magical powers. In other words, witchcraft is a lucrative industry in its own right ... making putting an end to it and protecting children from their own communities difficult. Just the other day, my mother was asking for a nice African albino child pendant for her charm bracelet for Christmas.

Anyhoo, the tension of poverty across most of African communities has delivered the opportunity for this terrible phenomenon of abuse, murder, and exploitation of thousands of children and their mostly illiterate parents or guardians; in the name of Christianity. So, let me get this straight: they’re poor so they’re blaming it on the disabled children? What Christian sense does that make? If you’re going to blame or accuse anyone of witchcraft, I’d recommend blaming those for whom this doesn’t seem to be a problem – namely the rich and the beautiful. To me, they’d be the more likely candidate for making deals with the devil. I know if I was ever going to take up witchcraft, I probably put it to better use than making me homeless and disfigured. Shit, I’d suddenly be transformed into Brad Pitt and driving around in a gold plated limousine…but that’s just me I guess.

My point is; I’d have higher aspirations than maintaining my fair complexion.


Post a Comment

<< Home