Monday, 8 December 2008

Harvesting 'Ghosts'.

So is this an example of the roots of religion, the harvesting of ‘ghosts’ to make witch doctor’s potions? It is quite clear that before organized religion there existed a mixture of superstition, assorted worship and bazaar unrealistic beliefs. In some parts of the world, areas of Mexico and the Caribbean for instance, this type of mixture is still stirred in with mainstream religion, usually Catholicism.

But current media news points to an extremely sinister side of the extremities with which false belief can degrade the human species. In Tanzania, and to a lesser extent in some other African countries, albino people, locally called 'white ghosts', are being hunted down and their body parts sold to witch doctors who make potions from their hair, skin and bones which is believed will make the imbiber of these potions wealthy. There is a growing demand for the potions, and hence, the albino body parts.

Albinism is inherited. It results from a deficiency of melanin pigment which normally protects the skin of black Africans from the unrelenting burning of that regional sunshine. Albinos in Tanzania have an incredibly difficult life. Firstly, third world conditions make it a lottery for anyone to survive into adulthood. Secondly, their unprotected skin is left vulnerable to high-degree skin-burn and skin cancers. Thirdly, they almost all have impaired eyesight and many are almost blind. And to cap it all, they have the almost unimaginable insecurity of knowing that at any time they could be harvested for their body parts.

'How barbarous', we may cry, 'but it’s only Third World Africans'. But how many years ago was it when Europe was equally barbarious, and all in the name of Christianity? Looking at the timescale of the past forty thousand years of human history, you can see that it is but a mere wisp of time ago when Europeans were murdering and torturing women they imagined to be witches by burning at the stake. Also it was a time when the Christian Inquisition were murderously devastating the peoples of Central and South America, and when an accusation that you were aligned to the wrong religious denomination could result in your death in the most painful way possible.

It is true that in First World countries, religion has been pacified and brought into line with 21st century laws and codes of conduct. But this has been a gradual process and the Christian church has never been the most foregiving, politically correct, egalitarian, sexually equal, or foreward looking institution, though even less could be said for some other major religions. We should not bite our tongues. It is time to put pressure on all religious leaders and make them answerable to their 'crimes' of spreading dangerous mis-belief. They have gone virtually unchallenged for so many centuries. There has never been a more timely point in Human history in which the falsities of religion could be exposed to the masses and the iron sanctity of religious opinion ripped open to an onslaught of 21st Century reason. Let the "White Ghost's" Genocide not go in vain!

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