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June 13, 2008

Kenyan Witch Hunts Are Absurd

I don’t like to force my Western belief system on anyone but when people are being murdered, I lose the capacity to understand. Last month I was appalled to learn that 15 people were murdered in Kenya because they were accused of being witches. Now the story has become more personal as those that lost loved ones share their stories.

Witchcraft is something that is believed to be real in many places in the world. It is not uncommon to run across very superstitious people no matter where you go. My family hails from the southern part of the United States where voodoo and witchcraft is still revered and feared. I have relatives that will swear that people have been stricken down by ailments because some one cast a spell on them. Mostly I think that the people that get sick are ill just because they are ill. Not because someone else caused them to be so. Witchcraft and spell casting may be real but I do not have much faith in it.

I am however, a firm believer in the power of thought. If you believe you are cursed and that bad things are going to happen to you, then they probably will. Also, if you do not like someone for whatever reason and you know that calling them a witch will help you round up a mob that will kill them, then I think that a childish, stupid person would yell “witch!”. That is what these witch hunts are really about. They are about disagreements gone bad or old wounds that never healed between sworn enemies. What really, really bothers me is that these so called witches are mostly elderly people that can not fight for themselves the way that a younger person may be able to.

To see pictures of those that lost loved ones to these senseless mobs is so sad. A young boy ran away in fear when a mob stormed his house. When he returned he found his grandmother, who was in her 80’s, burned to death. What a horrible fate for someone who has lived over eight decades. What a scarring event for a young boy.

I don’t know what needs to happen to help move Kenya forward and to make those that believe anyone accused of being a witch should be killed, a minority but that undertaking needs to be top priority. I am so tired of hearing about senseless murders throughout Africa. I know that the continent of Africa has been through a world wind of changes over the centuries but it is time to be responsible and exist in the times in which we live. I am not condemning the belief in witchcraft, like I said, it is something that many people around the world confess to be true. It is the murdering that I can not understand. Please stop the massive genocide that is destroying Africa. This is a problem that needs internal handling, not external. The world can not save Kenya, Kenya must save itself.

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