When misfortune hits a village

It’s all the fault of that mouthy woman.

When misfortune hits a village, there is a tendency in some countries to suspect a “witch” of casting a spell. In Ghana, outspoken or eccentric women may also be accused of witchcraft – and forced to live out their days together in witch camps.

The witch camps appear to be unique to northern Ghana. But Ghana shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft with illness, drought, fires and other natural disasters blamed on black magic. The alleged witches are nearly always elderly.

An ActionAid report on witch camps, published this week, says that more than 70% of residents in Kukuo camp were accused and banished after their husbands died – suggesting that witchcraft allegations are a way of enabling the family to take control of the widow’s property.

“The camps are a dramatic manifestation of the status of women in Ghana,” says Professor Dzodzi Tsikata of the University of Ghana. “Older women become a target because they are no longer useful to society.”

And because they’re ugly and everybody hates them.

Women who do not conform to society’s expectations also fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, according to Lamnatu Adam of the women’s rights group Songtaba.

“Women are expected to be submissive so once you start to be outspoken in your views or even successful in your trade, people assume you must be possessed.”

And then they want to kill you, so you have to go to a camp for safety.


Fun and games in the LAPD – headline –

Woman dies after genital kick from LAPD officer

Huh. That can’t be right. Kicking women between the legs is just a joke, as any fule kno.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating at least five officers after one of them allegedly stomped on a woman’s genitals and she later died of suffocation.

Patrol car video camera captured a struggle between police and Alesia Thomas and several officers on July 22, according to the Los Angeles Times.

LAPD Cmdr. Bob Green admitted to the Times that a female officer had followed through with a threat to kick Thomas in the genitals when she resisted being put into the patrol car.

Oh well. I’m sure they’ll all see the funny side eventually.

H/t EllenBeth

Priests ensnared by little boys

A priest in Australia has been charged with hiding child sexual assaults by another priest.

He didn’t just hide them, either, he caned two boys who reported being assaulted.

Father Brennan, 74, was arrested and charged yesterday with two counts of  misprision of a felony – failing to disclose a serious crime – relating to alleged child sex offences by defrocked priest John Denham against two boys in  the late 1970s. [Read more…]

A little outing

Village life in Punjab.

Five men allegedly shaved off the hair and eyebrows of a young woman and paraded her in the streets of a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province, police officials said Tuesday.

The incident occurred yesterday in Layyah district, 350 km from Lahore, after the married woman was accused of having “illicit” relations with a man.

According to an FIR registered by police, Parveen Bibi, 25, the wife of Sabir Husain, had a quarrel with her sisters-in-law.
Yesterday, her brothers-in-law Muhammad Pervaiz and Muhammad Zafar and three other men shaved off her hair and eyebrows. They then blackened her face and paraded her through the streets of their village.

Five men bullying one woman. How picturesque.

Anybody who resorts to tactics of desperation like this

A blast from the past at the Richard Dawkins Foundation (of which Paula Kirby is the UK head), December 15, 2006.

The following is an email sent by William A. Dembski to Richard Dawkins along with other prominent Darwinists, particularly those who defended Darwinism during the Dover Trial.

There’s a Christmas present for you at my website.

— a flash animation that features each of you prominently (some of you are probably aware of it already). We’re still planning a few enhancements, including getting Eric Rothschild in there and having Judge Jones do the actual voiceovers himself (right now it’s me speeded up though it’s his actual words). In return for the judge doing himself, we’ll drop some of the less flattering sound effects. We would have included Prof. Padian, but the images of him on the internet weren’t of sufficient quality (I’m copying Prof. Padian — if you send me a hi res jpg of yourself, I’m sure we can work you in — you were after all the expert witness at the trial).

Best wishes, Bill Dembski

How festive. What a pleasant friendly winter solstice joke.

Or was it. The recipient didn’t think so.

Reponse from Richard Dawkins:

Anybody who resorts to tactics of desperation like this has to be a real loser. Dembski is a loser, and it now looks as though he KNOWS it. My guess is that he will try to take it down when he realizes how foolish it makes him look. Josh, can we can keep a copy, after he tries to remove it from his own website?


Update: Here it is, on the original site, where Dembski found it. Apparently it had farts, but the hosts came over all adult and removed that aspect. What’s left is totally adult and clever.

H/t Gerry.


Gosh. Paula Kirby made a funny on Twitter.

Paula Kirby@PaulaSKirby

Ladies and gentlemen, may I request a moment of silence in honour of CrucifixionPlus (Restored). pic.twitter.com/17wLZhof


That’s kind of startling. As I said before, when she called me a Feminazi and Femistasi and part of the Sisterhood of the Oppressed, I liked her a lot when I met her at QED. She was friendly to me, and I thought we’d had a good rapport – or to put it another way, I thought the liking was reasonably mutual. Clearly it wasn’t.

Fine; nobody has to like anybody. On the other hand, calling people totalitarians and Nazis and Stasi (when they’re not)? And circulating sneery caricatures? That’s…well it’s not very adult, for a start. And it’s nasty.

I’ve said this before too, but I’ll say this again too. I’m supposed to be such a monster, but I don’t do shit like that.

Mind you, the restored Jesus still makes me laugh; it makes me laugh every time.

But Paula Kirby? No. I don’t find her funny.

Law in a theocracy

Apparently in Pakistan, if you’re a lawyer and you think a case might not go your way, the thing to do is to muse aloud about people who got murdered in similar circumstances if you know what I mean wink wink nudge nudge. At least if you see yourself as a lawyer for Team God.

A lawyer representing the man who accused a Pakistani Christian girl of blasphemy has claimed that if she is not convicted, Muslims could “take the law into their own hands”. [Read more…]