Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hammering nails into children's heads

UK TV station Channel 4, aired a documentary on November 14 called Saving Africa’s Witch Children, (thanks to the Amazing Randi). The documentary details the torture and sometimes murder of children believed to be witches in Nigeria, Africa. Remember Palin’s blessing by Bishop Thomas Muthee? Although from Kenya, he too believed in witch-craft and apparently ‘saved’ Palin from their evil spells. This appears to be a problem in several African countries.

An editorial appears in the Nigerian Guardian that details the documentary and the problems in Nigeria at the moment:
The children are exposed to all forms of dehumanization. One had a nail driven into her skull. Another was given poison to drink. Many were set on fire. Innocent-looking young children including babies under the age of seven are stigmatized and driven away by their parents and relations. Other parents take their children to churches where a Pastor declares the child a witch or wizard, who is in need of deliverance.
What kind of perverse, inhuman nutters can possibly think that driving nails into a child’s skull is Ok. Why Christians of course!
It begins on an appropriately instructive note: "Say Amen, Amen, Say Amen, Amen." A Christian worship is in session. The substance of the documentary is how so-called religious leaders - Pastors, priests and self-styled Bishops engage in exorcism as they spread a scary gospel about the existence of evil and witchcraft in the Akwa Ibom community. This has led to mass delusion and hysteria in parts of the state with children, mostly being accused of witchcraft.
Not only does this lunacy go on, but priests actually charge parents to perform the exorcisms, (child torture). If the parents can’t pay, they imprison the child:
To cast out the evil spell of witchcraft Bishop Ulup-Aya charges N40, 000 per client and if a parent is unable to pay, he holds the child captive until the bill is settled.
I understand that in many African countries, extreme poverty and traditional superstitions encourage backward beliefs, but torturing children!? I can even believe there are a number of backward, mentally retarded cabbage shaggers out there that love hammering baby heads, but entire populations is mind-numbingly stupid.

In my mind this is a government failure. Any government that seriously serves its citizens should be educating them to eradicate this nonsense. Mind you, even in the most developed countries that sometimes doesn’t happen. Take Palin's blessing by a witch doctor before an entire congregation. No-one stopped and said, “hold-on, witches and spells, isn’t this crap from the middle ages”. That’s because once you convince yourself you have faith in a religion, it’s easier to believe in goofier things down the line. Witch-craft seems perfectly acceptable in Palin’s middle-class American church.

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