Monday, November 17, 2008

When A Rabbit's Foot Just Won't Do...

Africa's greatest export these days seems to be bizarre news of human stupidity and strangeness. The madness of witchcraft hysteria sweeping across parts of the country has once more captured media attention. This time, the targets are far easier to spot...

The murders of at least 29 albinos have caused quite a stir in Tanzania. This time, it's the witch doctors believed to be responsible for the crimes. While peddling body parts on the black market is hardly new, these crimes are different. Humans with albinism are believed to possess magical properties; their limbs, hair, and other parts are thought to make excellent charms for good luck and wealth while drinking their blood or consuming flesh is said to grant the consumer bountiful fortune. Fishermen pay large sums for albino hair to weave into nets for attracting fish. Amulets made from human albinos are snatched up by miners looking to hit the mother lode in gemstone mines.

I'm sure even the Donner Party would find this news beyond taboo.

Greed and ignorance have lead to the slaughter of countless victims. A Lake Tanganyika fisherman reportedly sold his 24-year-old albino wife to Congo businessmen last week for £2,000. Already this year, police have arrested over 170 witch doctors and citizens for crimes against albinos and marketing body parts. One in 4,000 people are said to display signs of albinism in Tanzania, meaning hundreds of thousands of Tanzanians may be in danger of attacks. Many live in a constant state of fear. Many of those escaping with their lives or yet unaffected by the crimes are seeking police protection and asylum.

In a country where men live in fear of rape by the bat-winged creature known as Popo Bawa, these beliefs and superstitions are hardly surprising. But trafficking in pieces of pale people for profit? It's quite a disturbing trend and testament to the madness of humanity...

1 comment:

Gee said...

It's amazing that such atrocities still can effect a population as large as that of Tanzania. While a nations beliefs are all well and good, victimising a subsection of people because of a genetic discrepancy is, in my opinion, despicable.

Makes one thankful that despite all the ills of living in our respective countries, that at least we are not in an environment like that.