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← Kenya mob reportedly burns 11 'witches'

Kenya mob reportedly burns 11 'witches' - Comments

Auraboy's Avatar Comment 1 by Auraboy

Clearly it takes a wizard to make someone dumb... *sigh*

Thu, 22 May 2008 05:31:00 UTC | #174110

lurker_above's Avatar Comment 2 by lurker_above

You know how it goes: Burn first, ask questions later.

Thu, 22 May 2008 05:41:00 UTC | #174119

rokeisland's Avatar Comment 3 by rokeisland

Let's see, should I accept that my son or daughter is stupid, or go around and kill the people that make them look stupid.


And people say that religion is harmless. Fostering superstitious dogma merely provides a convenient excuse to execute old men and women.

Thu, 22 May 2008 05:44:00 UTC | #174122

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 4 by mixmastergaz

Difficult to know what to say when confronted by such lethal ignorance. Sadly Sam Harris's reports of the death of 'witchcraft' (or rather 'the belief in witchcraft') seem to have been optimistically exaggerated.

The less-cheery side of my personality cannot help but wonder how many of this mob really believed that their victims were witches/wizards, or to wonder if some of this really stems from malicious rumours spread by embittered and feuding neighbours.

Thu, 22 May 2008 05:45:00 UTC | #174123

davemei's Avatar Comment 5 by davemei

as flawed as most justice systems may be these sure beats a society where you can literally point to some one as a rapist/thief/murderer/witch(?) and that person would probably be burned/stone/hung quicker than you can pick out a jury.

Thu, 22 May 2008 05:46:00 UTC | #174125

davemei's Avatar Comment 6 by davemei

wonder when these people will get out of the Dark Ages?

Thu, 22 May 2008 05:49:00 UTC | #174128

riki's Avatar Comment 7 by riki

I've heard other stories from Africa, were self-professed witches or witch doctors create good luck charms using human body parts taken from live children. The intension being to inflict the most amount of pain on the most innocent of victims, to conjure up the strongest mojo.

Thu, 22 May 2008 06:00:00 UTC | #174136

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 8 by Quetzalcoatl

Perhaps these are the same witches who were making the men's penises shrink that was reported before.

Thu, 22 May 2008 06:01:00 UTC | #174138

LeeLeeOne's Avatar Comment 10 by LeeLeeOne

Okay, let me get this straight.

1. Witches and warlocks are powerful beings and are a threat to the community outside.
2. The community outside of the witches and warlocks are afraid of those who have these powers.
3. The community outside of such have the ability to exterminate powerful witches and warlocks.

Does not that make the community outside of such be automatically granted the status of powerful beings, i.e., witches and warlocks, as they had the "power" to exterminate their alleged foe, their self-proclaimed powerful witches and warlocks?

As such, by their own rules, should not themselves be exterminated?

Talk about circular reasoning and a calling for another mass suicide.

Ignorance is again the prevailing determinative factor in extermination. How pathetic.

Thu, 22 May 2008 06:30:00 UTC | #174162

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 11 by EvidenceOnly

In the name of which God did they kill these people or have we lost track by now of all the Gods mankind has killed people for?

Thu, 22 May 2008 06:34:00 UTC | #174166

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 12 by al-rawandi

Don't they also kill albinos for good luck?

I think the witch doctors there definitely do this. In Tanzania (anyway) there were laws enacted to protect albinos from witch doctor sacrifices.

Thu, 22 May 2008 06:41:00 UTC | #174170

Crazymalc's Avatar Comment 13 by Crazymalc

A similar story from an experience I had in Africa.

Having AIDS is scary. If you can't afford the ARVs. what do you do? You go to a witchdoctor. The witchdoctor tells you to bring you the head of a child, so you do. The younger the better.

The witchdoctor does a little dance and whammo! You're cured.

The childs head has to be perfect. No scars allowed. So the parents pierce their childs ears from an early age.

This was in Uganda btw. The parents I know took it all verys seriously. Some of the beheadings made the front page of the newspaper.

And on a related note, here is the story of an exorcism in Northern Uganda.

Thu, 22 May 2008 07:08:00 UTC | #174190

Auraboy's Avatar Comment 14 by Auraboy

Wow. We need a happy story on here soon or we'll just have to start killing ourselves.

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:12:00 UTC | #174220

lazlow's Avatar Comment 15 by lazlow

Well, I for one will sleep good tonight, safe in the knowledge that there are 11 witches and wizards less in the world!

Now what is 0 take away 11?

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:20:00 UTC | #174224

The Schuermannator's Avatar Comment 16 by The Schuermannator


The saddest part is, even if it were true that AIDs could be cured in such a manner, how unethical it is to kill a young child to make up for mistakes made in contracting an STD. Acting on some superstitions ought to be made illegal. Tell the guy... OK, your AIDs are cured, but now you get to spend the rest of your life in jail as a result of obtaining the cure.

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:34:00 UTC | #174230

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 17 by mordacious1

"Gee, teechr, I only flunkd the test cause a witch coorsed me, but don wory cause my dad kilt her"
This article just shows how hard it is to stamp out weird beliefs. I don't think the god delusion will ever disappear. (sigh)

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:35:00 UTC | #174231

Robert Maynard's Avatar Comment 18 by Robert Maynard

Fucking retarded and tragic. Next.

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:45:00 UTC | #174234

The Red Fox's Avatar Comment 19 by The Red Fox

Welcome to the 14th century, please leave all logical and critical thinking faculties at the door. Thank you.

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:51:00 UTC | #174238

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 20 by Border Collie

Sorry to bring it up, but it was only a few hundred years ago that similar things were going on in Europe and America ... we just dressed up the butchery with trials, proclamations from authority, etc.

Damn, makes me want to convulse on the floor and speak in tongues ... give me that old time religion!!!

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:53:00 UTC | #174240

j s bach's Avatar Comment 21 by j s bach

And it is now the likes of these superstitious children that compose the greater part of the Anglican/Episcopalian Church.

Thu, 22 May 2008 08:56:00 UTC | #174242

hoops mccann's Avatar Comment 22 by hoops mccann

"How can they (the young men) prove that a person is a wizard?"

See if they weigh the same as a duck?

(Sorry to make light of this, but the situation is absurd beyond words. No one is being tried or prosecuted? Any society that tolerates something like that is pathetic.)

Thu, 22 May 2008 09:00:00 UTC | #174244

aluhud's Avatar Comment 23 by aluhud

hey guys. first time to post here.
i am kenyan and i tell you this is the kind of story that reminds me despite humans selfishly believing they are inteligent they actually are not.
i just hope they didnt do it for an equally stupid reason like religion.

Thu, 22 May 2008 09:18:00 UTC | #174255

riki's Avatar Comment 24 by riki

An update from BBC, regarding arrests

Thu, 22 May 2008 09:37:00 UTC | #174266

liberalartist's Avatar Comment 25 by liberalartist

This isn't the first I have heard about people being accused of witchcraft, in the other case it was children accused by their own families. I am curious, is this a recent phenomenon or has it always been present in various African countries?

Thu, 22 May 2008 09:40:00 UTC | #174267

petrucio's Avatar Comment 26 by petrucio

Wasn't Dawkins born in Kenya?

Thu, 22 May 2008 10:21:00 UTC | #174276

Tezcatlipoca's Avatar Comment 27 by Tezcatlipoca

Duh, of course the witches burned...they were made of wood!

Thu, 22 May 2008 10:25:00 UTC | #174279

mada2002's Avatar Comment 28 by mada2002

This is so similar to that story a few weeks ago about "suspected witches" making guys' dicks smaller, and everyone panicking and running around in gangs. How stupid. What makes it even more stupid is that they believe these people are witches, but attack them anyway. I'm sure that they believe the fact that they survived attacking the witches is owed to the devine protection of their god(s). What can you do with that kind of thinking (or lack thereof)?

Thu, 22 May 2008 10:27:00 UTC | #174280

dlitt's Avatar Comment 29 by dlitt

"The villagers are complaining that the (suspected) wizards and witches are making the bright children in the community dumb....
Something has obviously made these 300 vigilantes dumb.

Thu, 22 May 2008 10:56:00 UTC | #174297

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 30 by Dr. Strangegod

When I was living in Malawi, I made a joke about how I could probably convince people in my village that I was a powerful sorcerer. It wasn't funny. I was warned with extreme seriousness to NOT do that, as another American had done so once and was harassed and driven out of his village. Apparently it took some time for him to figure out what he had said to cause all the problems; then he had to leave the country.

I also talked at length with a witchdoctor and watched him perform an exorcism on a woman who was bedeviled by the demons of alcoholism. There is a very long anthropological history to all this, probably from the first time an ape ate a mushroom. All of this is pretty typical tribal religion. The scapegoating of the elderly serves a social purpose in that it allows the tribe/village to focus all their problems into one physical form, and then destroy it, thus destroying their problems. It is also a way of culling the herd of its weakest members. Are there any anthropologists out there that care to explain further?

I would caution against taking such a negative view of traditional African religion, though. Yes, it is equally stupid and incorrect as any other religion, and there are plenty of examples of misguided, ferocious violence. But you cannot look at a superstitious African villager the same way as you can a creationist from Arkansas. There is a difference between following along with your stone age society without any opportunity or knowledge to know any better and the willful ignorance within a modern society shown by religious crazies in the west. Example: I mentioned dinosaurs to my language teacher, who had a college degree and spoke perfect English, and he was blown away. He had never heard of them. I drew a bunch of cartoons and explained the timeline and what their names were and all that, and he still didn't believe me. When I explained that the skeletons of these giant lizard monsters were still in the earth all around us, he laughed and insisted I was pulling his leg. The point is that no one had ever mentioned dinosaurs to this fairly intelligent man before. Ever. That is very different from people who have been learning about dinosaurs from grade school, have access to the internet, and then deny paleontology.

Thu, 22 May 2008 10:59:00 UTC | #174299