World of Witchcraft

Oliver Williams, Takimag, December 19, 2013

Since 2007, 45 albinos have been killed in Tanzania. Their limbs, hair, skin, and genitals were used to make potions. Their graves have to be fortified with metal bars and cement to stop the further harvesting of their organs.

From the vantage point of the West, this subject could be viewed with nothing more than morbid anthropological curiosity. Yet thanks to immigration these practices are now appearing in Western countries. Two charities, the NSPCC and World Vision, released a joint statement about the problem. “Across Sub-Saharan Africa, World Vision encounters these cases all too frequently.…And these views can come over to the UK.” The BBC reports that “Hundreds of central African children living in the UK may have suffered abuse or even been killed after being accused of witchcraft, charities say.”

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British citizens have been taken to the Congo on “holiday” by their parents to undergo “deliverance ceremonies,” i.e., exorcism. These involve being “cut with razors, stamped on, beaten, shouted at and forced to drink pigeons’ blood.”

At a flat in east London a Congolese couple starved a 15-year-old boy whom they accused of being a sorcerer. According to the Guardian, “floor tiles were smashed over his head, his teeth were hit out with a hammer.” The child was drowned in a bath on Christmas Day in 2010. Thomas Bikebi, director of the Congolese Family Centre, said, “There are people within the community who will say that this pair did the right thing, they killed a witch.”

Three members of the Angolan diaspora rubbed chili peppers in the eyes of an eight-year-old girl and attempted to “beat the devil out of her” in an East London flat. One of the assailants told Radio 5 Live, “In our community in the UK everyone believes in it.” In a separate case another eight-year-old girl, Victoria Climbié, was beaten, burned with cigarettes, and forced to sleep in a bin liner inside an empty bath. She died of hypothermia and malnutrition.

And it’s not just the UK. Latisha Lawson of Fort Wayne, Indiana, forced her three-year-old son to drink a mixture of olive oil and vinegar as part of a ritual to drive a demon called “Marzon” from her son’s body. She held her hand over his mouth to stop him from vomiting. The child died. Lawson kept the child’s body in a plastic bag for more than a year after his death, thinking he would be resurrected. He stayed dead.

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