Monday, January 20, 2003

Nightmares from the Dark Continent

Maybe exploitation by First World imperialists isn’t the only reason the nations of sub-Saharan Africa remain in desperate poverty and general backwardness. Ignorance and superstition seem to have a lot to do with it as well, as illustrated by the ongoing wave of vampire attacks in Malawi. Many people have been attacked on suspicion of themselves being, or being in league with, vampires. A Malawian court recently threw out charges against a radio DJ who violating President Bakili Muluzi’s order against spreading rumors of Anne Rice-style goings on by claiming to have been attacked by a vampire. He is vowing to continue his expose of the phenomenon. And the good people of Malawi aren’t alone in suffering from occult influence – Kinshasa, capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is battling as many as 20,000 pre-teens witches. Thousands of children, some under ten years old, have been driven from their homes by their families after being held responsible for ill fortune such as a family member dying of losing his job. Their culpability, of course, lies in the fact that they are witches and maliciously caused the assorted cases of disease/death/unemployment.


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