Saturday, February 27, 2010

Child Sorcery in the Congo

From the BBC: "Unicef's latest available statistics show that around one hundred cases of child sorcery allegations were referred to them in 2008 in the North Kivu province of Eastern Congo alone...12 year-old, Henri, which is not his real name, points at a large fresh looking scar on his midriff. 'People accused me of sorcery and my mother believed them,' he says. 'Look, here on my stomach. She tried to kill me with a knife. It really hurt and I cannot understand why my mother did it.'"

Neither can a lot of us, Henri.

Then again, isn't it okay? I mean, child sorcery is real to the people who believe in it, right? It's their faith, and who are we to say what's true and what's not?

This isn't a silly or academic question. Ask Henri and the other kids who are being hurt and killed by their parents over this nonsense. And somehow I have trouble feeling intolerant for refusing to respect these beliefs.

So does your belief system forbid you from doing these kinds of things to children? Is it your conscience telling you that these things are wrong? Is your conscience in conflict with a scripture that clearly tells you not to suffer a witch to live (Exodus 22:18)?

Below: Belinda, 8, was accused by her uncle of being a "sorcery child" following the death of her parents in Kolwezi, Congo. She was beaten so severely that she ran away and slept on the streets for several months, before being rescued by the World Vision-assisted Faradja Center. She has now been placed with relatives who will care for her and is being provided with food, clothing, health care, and the resources to get back into school. Photo by Amanda Short. See source.

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