More witchcraft hysteria

Posted on October 23, 2009 by


So…  I guess I really have to admit that the Thursday blog has turned into an Every-Other-Friday blog as of late. I had a good friend who used to say “a bad excuse is better than no excuse.” Right now, though, my only excuse is “I’ve been crazy busy and preoccupied.”

Lame, I know. But an excuse, nonetheless.

So for this edition of the links of the week I only bring you one; a story of widows in the Indian state of Jharkhand beaten, dragged through the streets, and forced to eat human excrement for being “witches”. The grand irony, of course, is that “spirits” supposedly possessed other women in the village, alerting them to the practice of witchcraft in their midst. But this somehow isn’t considered a form of sorcery or witchcraft in and of itself.

It’s very odd, the way the human animal does these things. It strikes me as especially odd considering a conversation that I was having last night with an online gaming friend. An ethnic Hmong, he comes from a very different background, spiritually, than the charismatic Pentecostal Christian family I was raised in. But despite these differences, we were able to find a great deal of spiritual common ground when the conversation turned in that direction.

It was refreshing, in that way that only spirited conversation can be, to see that there was still some spark of that youthful hope I once held that all problems could be solved if we only spent enough time talking, seeking common ground, and truly trying to understand one another. Of course, now that I’m old and cynical, I know that that is not usually the case. These recent, and many older, incidents of violence against witches (or Jews, or Christians, or Buddhists, or Sunni, or Shiite, or adherents of the Baha’i faith, or “insert group of your choice”) prove that. But it was as nice to have that small spark reignited as it was repugnant to watch the video of these women being degraded.

Humanity has an immense capacity for both love and hate, cruelty and kindness. Which will you choose in your day-to-day?