Killing during times of food shortage

From Charles Onyango-Obbo, on The Citizen.co.tz:

Witch doctors. Click for source.

If I had the power of God, I would have made every African president and any other politician read the May/June issue of Foreign Policy (FP) magazine (it’s available at the good news stands in Nairobi). Baptised the “Food Issue”, it examines in extremely brilliant and insightful articles the question of food prices around the world; and how much longer it will be before most of us go hungry.

One measure of good writing is that it should be able to shed light on things other than the direct subject it is tackling.FP’s “Food Issue” does that, because it also helps us to understand why we tend to have too many witches and evil witchdoctors in places like Africa; and why most of them are old women, or grey-haired old men. In Kenya last year, there was an epidemic of killing grey-haired men in the coastal area, and in the western region in recent months, the murder of witches has risen sharply.

One of the FP food articles says that when food is scarce or becomes too expensive, there is always a rise in the killing of members of society who are thought to be too old to work, or who have “lived long enough”.

The real reason these people are killed is to remove them from the dinner table and allocate the food that would have gone to them to young “able-bodied” members of society. Witch killing is primarily, if you like, a coping mechanism in times of food shortage.

Because the UN has warned that the wider East African region will be hit hard by food shortages in the months to come, you can expect to see more old women being accused of being witches and banished from the village or murdered, and old men being ambushed in the night and beheaded. And, needless to say, people with albinism (who find difficulty working in the sun for long) will be also at greater risk. Countries such as Tanzania and Burundi are notorious for attacks on them….”

Read it all on The Citizen.

Once again, here’s the link to that food issue of Foreign Policy magazine.

1 Comment

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One response to “Killing during times of food shortage

  1. Our feeling is similar. More than twenty five years ago, I knew the oceans and ocean life was in serious trouble. I saw the ocean reefs dying. As an avid ocean water diver and ocean open water swimmer, I made many observations. Most of them from being in the ocean so much and for my love of the ocean and good it made me feel from head to toe. As years passed by, I became interested in the human condition and the health of our bodies, the planet. I then became interested in Agriculture and our food supply from earth and sea. Today if you see The International Programe on The State of The Ocean, you will find the latest reports on the conditions that exist in the sea. Basically, we are doomed to fail when it comes to preservation and conservation the ocean unless we do something now. Personally, I like The Sea Shepherd. They are action oriented. They save whales, tuna, and other sea life. They are the real deal. Today, the land has similar problems and so is farming having serious problems instead of great gains. Unless the farms are preserved and they are made to grow, we will not have real food. The End of Food is near. Commercial farming is not the answer. And neither is a tomato that grows in doors. I remember growing up on Long Island as a bot and there being farms around us growing natural or organic. farms on the North Fork of Long Island and The Hamptons. Today, there are Vineyards all around this area, but this is not the solution. we cannot live on wine.

    My suggestion is this. As an economist and gastronomer, I believe that local farming, organic, natural, and real action for both the safety and preservation of farm lands and the sea should be first on the agenda of our local communities. It starts here at home, then it can go statewide or from province to province as is the case with Canada. Look into it. I am not so sure that the “Global Agenda” or the people who are talking about “sustainability” are with all that good an intention. reading things in Agenda 21 are also very disheartening. whatever it is or whoever is responsible and for what reasons is not important now especially if they represent greed and corruption. For they are without virtue.

    It is time to get back to basics. This is another reason why we have started The Milkman Company and home delivery services to the consumers. Getting farm fresh foods to the consumer and their families with local farm fresh foods distribution can help the cause.

    The Raw Milk Milkmen are Back!

    What do you think? what will you do about this? Do you think about the world after you are gone and what it means to your children, friends of the future?

    Thank you.

    Ed Hartz
    The Milkman Company &
    Milkmen USA

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