Sometimes we forget things we take for granted.
We have written about Helen Ukpabio before. For those who are unaware of this issue?
Culture and Religion sometimes intermingle in unexpected ways. We often don’t realise how the adoption of a new idea will work. Sometimes you get curry, the combination of new world ingredients and asian spices.
Sometimes you get Witchhunters.
[warning]Contains descriptions of witchcraft related torture in Africa and the UK. Contains a Christian Horror Movie Video.[/warning]
“I cannot help thinking that if the Central African Republic were not a poor country hidden away in the heart of Africa, the terrible events that have taken place and continue to take place would have stimulated a far stronger and more dynamic reaction by the outside world. How many more children have to be decapitated, how many more women and girls will be raped, how many more acts of cannibalism must there be, before we really sit up and pay attention?”
Navi Pillay’s the UN Chief of human rights and she had this to say about the lack of International attention to the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic. [Read more…]
“If you are not gone by 8 o’clock tomorrow morning we will come back and shoot you and burn down the mission, You are making this a religious war”
This was the threat made by about a dozen armed fighters from the Muslim faction who rolled up to the Catholic mission in their technical. There were hundreds in the mission who sought refuge on humanitarian grounds.
Leave or die. [Read more…]
The Central African Republic is currently negotiating the terms of Joseph Kony who was the leader of the Christian Militia group called the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Wishing to forge a “Christian Uganda” based on the 10 commandments, he and his LRA waged a brutal civil war which helped destabilise the region.
He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of rape, mutilation and murder of civilians, as well as forcibly recruiting children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves. It is estimate that the conflict cost the lives of a million people by either massacre or deaths due to destabilisation.
One of the prior conditions for his surrender involved ICC amnesty but no one was willing to give it to him as the crimes were too great.
This is a step forward. Kony must face justice, it won’t bring back his victims or help the child soldiers he created but it will help show the world that there are crimes and that there is a procedure where such super villains can be prosecuted.
And if anyone says “There are no Christian Terrorists” remember Joseph Kony.
I am a big fan of Russel Howard’s Good News (It’s a british comedy show) and every episode ends with something good. News generally is just horrible things. Good things rarely make the news. And for all my rants about various really sad issues and about idiots who think ignorance is an equal viewpoint to science there are beautiful things in the world done by real people. I wanted to start a series of posts on stuff that isn’t bitterly sad and deeply disturbing.
So this week’s story of amazing things is Rachel. Rachel tried to raise $300 to send to Africa for clean drinking water. She fell short with just $220. It was her birthday wish to give people in Africa water. A 9 year old refusing presents to send money to Africa to help create infrastructure is a good thing. A month later she passed away in an accident.
When people heard about her birthday wish they raised over a $1,000,000 for water infrastructure.
Clean drinking water is a necessity not a luxury. Show them some love too. Charity: Water still is out there building infrastructure. Give some money, if you cannot pass it on so someone else can.
The following account is compiled from a variety of news sources and is disturbing and contains graphic details of a horrific crime. It is NSFW, unsuitable for children and may be a trigger. So I carry this disclaimer warning potential readers.
With this in mind?
This is Kristian Bamu, a 15 year old boy from Paris. He was looking forward to spending Christmas with his sister and her boyfriend (Magalie Bamu and Eric Bikubi) along with his brothers and sisters. What occurred between the 16th of December and Christmas in 2010 can only be described as madness.
Kristian Bamu was discovered by paramedics in a bathtub and was declared dead. He was missing teeth, his body was covered in a variety of injuries ranging from bruises to deep cuts and stab wounds. His two sisters aged 11 and 20 were also subjected to some of these. His brothers aged 13 and 22 joined him in being tortured. Tortured by Eric and Magalie for the crime of being witches.
Kristin Bamu’s cause of death was drowning as he was either held under water or slipped under the water of a bath he was placed in. Over the four day ordeal he was attacked by a variety of implements ranging from a knife, pliers, a wooden beam, a weight lifting bar and a hammer. His teeth were knocked out. His ears were torn with pliers. He was struck repeatedly by different objects and was cut. He was not allowed to eat or use the bathroom. His other brothers and sisters were forced to torture him or face the same punishment. Kristin Bamu’s older sister was forced to tear his ears with pliers while the youngest aged just 11 was forced to watch.
Why? Erik and Magalie claimed that they were witches and were bringing witchcraft into their house. For an understanding of that we need to go deeper.
Erik and Magalie and indeed Kristian and his siblings were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and were firm believers in one of the many sects of baptist and charismatic Christianity that settled there as part of the mission movement. This kind of christianity believes in witchcraft as a real and tangible force and that this witchcraft or Kindoki is a genuine threat. Kindoki is said to manifest itself in children hence a series of these brutal assaults. Erik in particular was subject to the same type of treatment as a child. He too was one of the children who was “corrected” by such methods. Erik showed a history of abuse, with Magalie having to seek intervention with a women’s shelter at least once with a black eye after she was beaten after she refused to eat food off the floor. Whether Magalie was a willing participant or a further victim is not for us to decide, the evidence from her sister is certainly damning. Erik’s mother’s death was blamed on him and he showed the signs of mental disease and brain damage from a childhood fall. As his condition manifest in the UK, rather than seek medical help he sought Nigerian pastors and researched Kindoki online resulting in a paranoid delusion about the existence of witches.
Kindoke is the Lingala word for witchcraft and is one of the hundreds of words denoting a spiritual evil in various African languages and dialects. It’s western equivalent would be witchcraft or demonic possession. These beliefs have made their way across Europe with immigration as a method of explaining good and bad fortune.
To many Africans particularly those of the protestant faiths, this evil power is seen as witchcraft. In areas where society has broken down such as the Congo and southern Nigeria these accusations are epidemic. Many are taken seriously with some children taken to pastors for exorcism and others subject to home made remedies such as the ones attempted by Erik.
These are not traditional beliefs, these changes are obvious in the history of these peoples. Witchcraft was part of the traditional faith of Africa. Modern Christian belief sees the power of witchcraft as something evil and belief of possession by demons and witches is a common theme in all Christian faith in particular the fundamentalist Baptist and Pentecostal faiths. Thus many Africans maintain their former belief in witches with the approval and support of their new faith. Many newer churches spring up with the self proclaimed divine mission to hunt and destroy witches and profit from these services actively. Many pastors offer detection and exorcism services. Most of these are violent with beatings, cold baths and starvation used to purify the child.
The most recent trend is the accusation of children by parents and guardians. These are children who may have bad dreams, bed wetting, children who are stupider or cleverer, who have different likes and dislikes… the list practically covers every type of child out there. The accused are often outsiders, step-children, refugees, orphans, trafficked children and witches. Many are those who are mentally ill or are survivors of debilitating diseases.
A suspected child MUST confess. To this child the only choice is to say that there are five lights. Denials are not acceptable but ensures further exorcism attempts are made. Much of the violence is believed to be due to pastors trying to force confessions. Obviously children under such a horrific ordeal would admit to anything under torture. Children agreeing to being witches may face further violence after their admission. These children are not treated like children but an empty shell. It is believed that if the shell is made uncomfortable, the evil spirit will be made to leave.
Many people believe in this and it’s hard to find a politician who thinks this is a major problem. Any attempts to legislate this have been met with little to no success. Many politicians actively utilise this issue to paint a fear of a scourge of witchcraft with which to further their campaigns. Even in places like the UK it is believed that an unknown number of children are treated like this in impromptu and makeshift churches. And if anything the numbers of these type of churches is growing and being treated as an underground movement where we persecute them for their beliefs. The official guidelines maintained note around eight cases a year of witchcraft related abuse a year and this is what we find. The numbers are probably much higher as families involved don’t see this as torture but as saving the child’s life. The blame lays almost entirely with the beliefs of the various pentecostal and evangelical baptist churches. The various African pentecostal churches in Africa have a well witnessed history of witch hunts. In the Democratic Republic of Congo alone it is estimated that nearly 50,000 children have been forced out of their homes because of fears of Kindoki in just Kinshasa.
It’s a faith that isn’t un
ique to Africa and Africans, as many people in the west are educated and still consider witchcraft as a threat. How is this different from the exorcism of the Catholic Church? How is this different from the exorcisms that take place in the USA whose literal interpretation has turned into a genuine witch hunt on a scale unheard of in human history. How many of us thought the fears over music and the fears over D&D were stupid? How many atheists have watched Jesus Camp and snickered over their denouncement of Harry Potter as an agent of Satan? How many of us laughed when we hear that people genuinely believe in the Chick Tracts? I certainly laughed.
I don’t feel like laughing any more.