5.28.2008

Kenya and the Witches

by R. J. Forman

Remember learning about the witch hunts in the U.S. and in Europe?

Maybe you even got to read The House of Seven Gables?

Did you get to see or read The Crucible?

Remember thinking how dumb those people were and how easily persuaded our ancestors could be by some crappy acting by young girls in a courtroom?

Ah, witches…

Well, guess what?

They’re hunting and burning those witches again. Only this time it’s in Kenya! As if Kenya needed any more problems….

Last week, Kenyan officials said a mob had burned eleven people to death; these people were suspected of being witches and wizards.

According to authorities the people in charge of the witch burnings went through two villages with a list of suspects.

The villagers had complained that the witches and wizards were making the smart village children dumb.

You know what was really making the smart village children dumb? Their stupid parents who believed that it was the fault of witches and wizards.

The age of the suspected witches and wizards? Between 70 and 90 years old.

I mean, come on, these people already had a foot in the grave. Why expedite that process and in such a brutal manner?

Apparently this is not a new problem in Kenya, either.

In the post-election chaos that plagued Kenya for months after December, some looters purportedly returned items they had stolen fearing that their victims had set witch doctors on them.

And it’s not just Kenya. Although witch-hunts may seem to be a thing of the past for us, they are very much present in countries such as Cameroon, Congo, Sierra Leone and South Africa. And if you know anything about any of those countries, they, like Kenya, really don’t need any other problems or human rights infractions like the cruel, unusual, and completely archaic witch-hunt.

Like so many other atrocities in Africa this has gone mostly unnoticed by western media and we’ll just stand idly by as it continues to happen.

That is, of course, unless some 13-year-old Puritan girls start screaming in a courtroom, like in The Crucible, but this time about "Goody Kenya."

(Photo taken in Kenya by The Wandering Angel of Makati City, the Philippines via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License.)







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