Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Write the Names

It's easy to disconnect from the human rights abuse of the African witch hunts because they are happening a world away. We see so many terrible things on television and in our newspapers that we aren't quite able to take in the horror.  It's not that we are insensitive: I believe our disconnect is due in part to the ability of human beings to subconsciously wall off that which is particularly disturbing.
So many have been senselessly murdered in Africa recently that keeping up with the numbers is staggering and nearly impossible. We learn of the ones we know because the story has leaked out- someone has filmed a video and it gets into the hands of a news anchor somewhere in the world. Worse yet, the witch hunters themselves have filmed their victims and distributed the video in order to brag about their 'successful' ministry and to raise funds from congregations whose members don't realize the full extent of the abuse.
These people are real: mothers, fathers, teenagers, toddlers, siblings and babies. What evil could a defenseless baby possibly do? For the most part the names of the victims are not known out side their villages-and that is just how the witch hunters want it. They want to deny that their victims were human, that they once had life.
There is a beautiful custom among Native Americans that keeps the memory of the dead in mind: they believe that if a thing is named, then it continues to live. So here are some names from Touchstone Advocacy( from yesterday) which is sponsoring the awareness campaign so the witch hunters don't get to murder innocent victims and then brush their very ashes away... 
Andiswa Mabhida (9 months old). Burned to death... Liyema Phulwana (2). Burned to death... Ezile Nogemane (5) Hacked to death... Olwami Mabhida (6). Burned to death... Siphesihle Mabhida (7). Burned to death...Vela Nogemane (9). Hacked to death... Njabulo Mabhida (9). Burned to death...Nonkolisko Maldo (10).Stabbed the death.
Accusation is not proof. The witch hunters come into a village pretending to preach the Christian Gospel, then "recognize" a demon in an individual. That person is always someone who cannot protect themselves, like a widow with no family, an old woman who is a poor root worker, or a child. The witch hunter allays the fear of the people by saying he can exorcise the demon before it causes evil to befall the village-for a fee, because after all, " The laborer is worthy of his hire". It says so right in the Bible. It also says that the true followers of God will not "suffer a witch to live"...therefore the witch hunter is justified in receiving a 'free-will offering', or charge a fee for his work...and he can kill the accused with no matter of conscious. " Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." The original text- and this is no longer disputed by schools of theology in mainstream Christianity nowadays- reads, " Thou shall not allow a poisoner to dwell among you.", the history behind this particular verse being it was changed to suit the fear of witches of King James of England.

This is hideous. It's so graphic I won't put it on my page. If you want to watch it, here's the link.

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