Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Witches burned in Kenya

Apparently, a province in Western Kenya has been burning witches. Eleven of them, even.

The odd thing I find about this story is that the religion of the witch burners isn't discussed. All the time, and I think we've all had this experience, whenever something terrible happens in a Muslim country the news is very quick to point out the religion of the perps. But here we have a shocking, religiously motivated crime that happens in a Christian country - about 70% of Kenyans are Christian, meaning that Kenya is roughly as Christian as the United States (and Kisii, itself, seems to be dominated by Catholics and 7th Day Adventists) - the religion of the perpetrators isn't mentioned.

Of course, this happens all the time. Christians perpetrate vile offenses, often quite a bit religiously motivated, but their religion isn't discussed. Whereas with Muslims, even when their religion is only tangential to the deeds, is often discussed. In this fashion, the media is perpetrating a lot of discrimination and bigotry against Muslims, allowing people who read the news to easily infer (so easily that I can't believe it's unintentional) that Muslims are far more crime prone than their Christian neighbors. Given the heightened state of cultural tensions between Christians and Muslims (even ignoring the war in Iraq, which obviously has religious connotations - Bush is an evangelical fundamentalist who has explicitly said that his god urged him into this war against an overwhelmingly Islamic nation), the racism and/or irresponsibility of the media makes me pretty pissed off.


Rick Cummings said...

Dead accurate comments on Christianity, Islam and stupid witch beliefs. I live in Kenya and I am appalled by all of the witch killings and the belief by the vast majority (I am still looking for a single non-believer) that witches exist. The same people are devote Christians - more devout than the pope... except they also practive corruption, etc.!

Nicu, Romania said...

It is very likely the perpetrators were Christians. Thomas Muthee, the preacher who prayed for Sarah Palin, was also from Kenya. While in Kenya he accused a local woman that through witchcraft she caused car accidents and crimes. The woman was forced to flee the town. Read on wkipedia:

Cornelius said...

I think this boils down to the believe that the government can do/does nothing. The courts which on which an onerous responsibility has been bestowed to try suspects is corrupt and often lets them out under dubious circumstances. This happens in all fields of crime, be it robbery with violence, grand lercerny, corruption, witching... name it. People end up loosing faith in the system and what you saw in Kisii was the exact result of that. Unless and untill the government deals decisively with all these cases, unfortunately you will continue to see more of this kind of needless acts by Wananchi.