19 March 2009

Gambian Witch Hunt

This is some scary shit folks. The witch hunts of Africa have been going on for ages now and are usually a pretty isolated event involving only a few people at a time. Well, apparently efforts have been stepped up.

Authorities in Gambia have rounded up about 1,000 people and forced them to drink hallucinogens in a witch-hunting campaign that is terrorizing the tiny West African nation, an international rights group said Wednesday.

Amnesty International called on the government of President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup and has claimed he can cure AIDS, to halt the campaign and bring those responsible to justice...

"Once there, they were stripped and forced to drink 'dirty water' from herbs and were also bathed with these dirty herbs" that caused diarrhea and vomiting, the witness said. "I stayed there for five days ... I cannot believe that this type of treatment is taking place in Gambia. It is from the dark ages."...

In 2007, Jammeh declared he had discovered a cure for AIDS and began treating patients inside the presidential palace, using herbs and incantations. His dictatorial regime has cracked down harshly on critics, especially the press.

Now, any regular reader of this blog knows I'm all for entheogenics, the use of plants to not only heal but to bring about an altered mental state for the purpose of spiritual growth. But this is just fucking sick. Forcing people to ingest an hallucinogenic herbal drink, after kidnapping them and stripping them naked, is just way beyond twisted. And who could miss the obvious fact that the use of herbs and incantations to "cure AIDS" is in itself witchcraft?! I guess what Jammeh wants is what so many other assholes in power want: a stranglehold on any kind of power, be it political, medicinal or magical.


Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Straight fucked Up. The term Witchcraft used in junction with anything such as this sickens me...
I understand the context meant is that of old village superstition-visioned tabu witch doctors and whatever the hell-- but making people drink stuff that's causing runs not because of the herb but the filthy water used in preparation?

The witness that said "it is from the dark ages" has it right...

Good Human Interest, Liv... Missed ya of late!

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Spot on, Livia.
The dictator doesn't want any kind of rival to his own god-like powers.
But also, remember that here in Africa, 'witches' is what many Black people call the Malefica. We've been embroiled in an ongoing fight with the government, and sometimes with the Traditional Healers Association, to reclaim That Word.
Partial success, too, in that we (SAPRA and the SA Council of Pagans) managed to block some new legislation coming out of Mpumalanga using the W word.

Terri in Joburg

Livia Indica said...

Cygnus, "fucked up" about covers is. Yeah, I've had to pull back on some of my internet usage, too much work to do in the home.

Aquila ka Hecate, thank you for commenting on this. I'd hoped you would as I'm obviously not as knowledgeable about the situation in SA. You're efforts have been paying off but it seems there's much more work to do. More power to you sister.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Liv- Understand. Me, too, the housework.

the Best through it all, Lady L.