Africa Needs Obama to Join Fight Against Witch Hunting (Xewmedia, Senegal)
This week we posted content from Africa that I found quite startling. In this article, columnist Leo Igwe of from Senegal’s Xewmedia implores President Obama to take a stand on the issue of “witch hunting.” Yes – I said witch hunting – and this is serious. In Africa today, according to Igwe, witch hunting and the defamation and abuse of people accused of witchcraft is a major problem, and is undermining progress for much of sub-Saharan Africa.
For Xewmedia, this is a small part if Leo Igwe’s plea:
I hope during his trip, President Obama speaks out against witchcraft-related killings and abuses in Africa. Unfortunately, most world leaders have maintained a scandalous silence over the wave of witch-hunting ravaging many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Those accused of witchcraft are treated without mercy or compassion. Suspected witches or wizards are attacked, tortured, lynched or exiled from their homes. They are subjected to various forms of trial and ordeal. Some are forced to drink poisonous concoctions to confirm or to disable the powers of witchcraft they harbor.
In one of the countries Obama is visiting, Tanzania, albinos are targeted and killed for ritual purposes. The body parts of albinos are harvested, sold, and used for ritual potions that many people believe will bring good luck, power and wealth. Some people mistakenly identify witchcraft as “African science,” and witch hunting as part of African culture. Many people are afraid to speak out against witchcraft-related abuse because they believe witches exist and that witchcraft is real.
President Obama should ask Africans to draw a lesson from European witch hunting and the Salem witch hunts that occurred in America and condemn the ritual killing of albinos in Tanzania, hunchbacks in Nigeria, and witch killings and abuses in Kenya, Nigeria, Lesotho, Uganda and Sierra Leone.
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