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Humanists Free Malawi 'Witches'
Hypatia
http://www.mg.co....ly-witches

A Malawian rights group said on Tuesday it had paid fines to secure the release of three elderly women sent to prison after being accused of witchcraft.

"We paid fines of $33 for each of the convicts. We are very very happy, although the fight is on to seek the release of 50 others," George Thindwa, executive director of the Association of Secular Humanism, told Agence France-Presse.

The three, aged 80, 72 and 62, were convicted a month ago by a court in Salima district, some 100km from the administrative capital Lilongwe, after having been accused of witchcraft by their neighbours.

They were sentenced to one year in prison because they could not pay the 33-dollar fine, a large sum in a country where half of the population of 13-million lives on less than a dollar a day.

The case highlighted concerns over rights violations in Malawi based on allegations of witchcraft. Belief in witchcraft and traditional medicine runs deep in this former British colony, largely dominated by Christians.


http://thewip.net...cused.html

Sixty-three year old Gladys Kasito, in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, only has one wish – to die peacefully, preferably in her sleep. Kasito says she feels trapped and threatened in her own country. Her community, including her own family, has disowned her. She says everyone is baying for her blood. Kasito has been labeled a witch.

Her face is heavily scarred, she walks with a limp, and has no front teeth. Kasito is recovering from the wounds she sustained when her neighbors demolished her house early one February morning and beat her up. A few passers-by rescued her and took her to hospital.

“All I want is to die, but peacefully. I no longer want to go through the mental and physical ordeal that I was subjected to. They call me a witch just because I am old and no longer pretty,” worries Kasito.

She now sleeps in a shack in what used to be her kitchen. Only rubble remains where her house once stood. Kasito was attacked by her neighbors after a seven year old boy woke up with a swollen leg and told his parents that he was pushed off a witchcraft plane by the old woman after he had refused to bewitch his sisters.

“My three children say I embarrass them and they have nothing to do with me. My neighbors run away from me and I am just destitute. I have nothing to live for,” Kasito says in an interview.

In Malawi, witches and wizards are believed to be cannibals who have supernatural powers that they use to make people sick and even kill them; it is commonly believed that the witches prey on the meat of the dead. A typical witch or wizard in Malawi is said to have the ability to fly, especially at night, and to have powers that help them change their appearances; they can become invisible, go through walls or turn into animals such as cats, owls and hyenas.

Most Malawians believe that witchdoctors are the experts on witchcraft and that they alone can protect people from being killed through magic. Witchdoctors use herbal concoctions to cleanse and remove witchcraft from those that practice it and those that may have been bewitched unknowingly. Communities will often help perform a ceremony to rid children and witches of witchcraft led by the witchdoctor.

Once labeled as witches or wizards, the accused have very little chance of leading a normal life since they are stigmatized, rejected by society and rarely protected by the law. On numerous occasions, the Malawi police has arrested and brought suspected witches before the court, where in most cases, the suspects are sent to prison.


Gawd, that's just so incredibly sad and tragic.

The ignorance!
 
Bob of QF
Tragic, indeed.

And no doubt directly attributable to some evil religious rule*.


...

* is that phrase an example of redundancy?
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
Theory_Execution
Bob, I would say the 'evil' in the sentence is redundant and the lines meaning obvious to thinking folk.

It is disgusting that things like this go on in the world, and a demonstration of the failure of civilization to pass on the basic education needed to live reasonably.

It reminds me of that Shirley Kepler book (thats not it, but its all I have to mind right now) that I think Hypatia said was a terrible read (nuclear armageddon, some survive and set up crazy cults which bottle peoples DNA in walls) - without those tech savvy, historically and sociologically literate people leading, or at least teaching - society will descend into superstition and barbarism when met with something they do not understand.
 
catman
Bob: No doubt: It's redundant!
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
Doubting Thomas
It was only a short 300 years ago that they were having witch trials here in North America. And I have actually heard Christians claim that there are actual witches everywhere. I don't think it's far-fetched to say that if the Christians established the theocracy they want so badly that witch hunts would happen here again.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
 
catman
Not to mention atheist hunts.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
Bob of QF
... and secular humanist hunts.

And Deist hunts.

And agnostic hunts....

... in fact?

Unless someone overtly claims to be a member of the christbot klub?

As the Red Queen said, "Off with her Head!"
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
Doubting Thomas
To be fair, I think they'd start with the Muslims first.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
 
catman
I think they would start with atheists. After all, at least the Muslims believe in a god (God's cousin), and we are the least trusted group in America.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
Doubting Thomas
I don't know, there's one hell of an anti-Muslim sentiment running through conservative, white, Christian America these days. Muslim terrorists are the new boogeymen, since the end of the cold war means the commies aren't the biggest threat anymore. And most right-wingers don't see any difference between Muslim and terrorist.
Edited by Doubting Thomas on 03/03/2011 10:04
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
 
catman
That nasty business in Rammstein, Germany recently isn't going to help.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
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