Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Problem of Forced Exorcisms, Part II

Suffer the Children.

This is Part II in the continuation of my look into the global problem of forced exorcisms.

"Love the whole world as a mother loves her only child."--Lord Buddha

"If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children."--Mohandas Ghandi

"Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God."--Jesus the Christ

"Truly wonderful, the mind of a child."--Yoda


Back in August, I came across a news story out of India that caught my attention (the incident had occurred in July, just to be clear). According to the article, a translation of an original article published by The Press Trust of India, a five-year-old little girl had been hacked to death and beheaded by two male relatives, and her body dumped without so much as a prayer or a single shed tear. I have a little girl around the same age as the girl in this article, so the fact of her murder alone was enough to make my heart sink into my stomach.

However, I forced myself to read on ... and was further saddened when I learned of their reasons for committing this heinous act. They claimed to have killed the little girl under the advisement of a religious figure, who claimed the child was demon possessed and the source of all the family’s hardships. The only solution, according to this so-called “man of God” … make a human sacrifice of the little girl.

I swear that I felt something break inside of me when I read that part. Of course, I would dismiss anyone, man or woman, as being "of God" the moment they endorsed human sacrifice, ESPECIALLY of a CHILD!

Sadly enough, this story is indicative of a frightening trend in several parts of the globe.

The trend? Children being used as supernatural scapegoats—ultimately leading to them being tortured, exiled, murdered, and abandoned.

In Nigeria, the problem of belief in demon possessed or “child witches” causing hardships has become so ridiculously widespread that shelters have had to be created for the increasing number of children who have been attacked, cast out, or abandoned by their parents and/or villages. Can you imagine being nearly killed by the very same people upon whom you rely for love and survival?

And, of course, there are special “exorcists” all over Nigeria, most of them self-proclaimed and improperly trained, if trained at all … and, of course, these charlatans are more than happy to perform ritual exorcisms … if the price is right. When the family or village runs out of money, the “exorcist” packs up and moves on to the next group of suckers … usually claiming that the child is so seriously possessed that the demon will not leave. This leaves the family and/or villagers believing that their only option is to kill or exile the child in order to remove this fabricated evil from their presence.

I just don’t get it.

I have always believed that children are supposed to represent innocence, potential, and the embodiment of all our hopes for the future. How has this been so drastically reversed in certain parts of the world?

Why are people blaming children for the “sins of their fathers”?

I am interested to hear your opinions on this.

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