The horror covered in this documentary is a problem not just in Nigeria, or even just in Africa.

As some of us will certainly recall, Sarah Palin showed herself, incredibly, as soft on witch-hunting back in the fall of 2008, when Kenyan cleric Thomas Muthee, renowned in his own land as a devout witch-hunter, journeyed to Wasilla to bless the governor and her campaign. (Apparently God didn’t listen to him.)

If you missed the footage at the time, and have the stomach for it now, it’s here:

And here are some other writings on it:

Anyone inclined to laugh off Palin’s superstitiousness has not been paying attention to the wondrous “progress” made by the apocalyptic/theocratic right,* notwithstanding the election of Barack Obama (a staunch would-be appeaser of that movement)–and despite the factmthat it’s a movement of fringe-dwellers, enjoying very little popular support.

Bizarre it surely is, but it’s not funny.


CFI/Nigeria Leader Leo Igwe Featured Tonight on ‘Saving Africa’s Witch Children’

Leo Igwe, director of the Center for Inquiry/Nigeria, will appear in the documentary “Saving Africa’s Witch Children,” scheduled to air tonight (Wednesday May 26) on HBO2 from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. The program details efforts on the part of Igwe and Gary Foxcroft (of Stepping Stones/Nigeria) to raise consciousness about the terrible crimes committed against children accused of witchcraft.

Originally aired in September of 2008 on BBC’s Channel 4, the documentary details atrocities taking place in some of the poorest parts of Nigeria, where primitive religiosity and a widespread belief in sorcery and black magic has tragically led to thousands of children being branded and persecuted as witches.

One of the main subjects of the documentary is witch hunter Helen Ukpabio, profiled this past Saturday (“Nigerian Witch-Hunter Explains Herself“) in the New York Times. Ukpabio, head of the Liberty Gospel Church in Nigeria and a frequent target of criticism by CFI in Nigeria, filed a lawsuit against Igwe in Nigerian federal court last year in an attempt to silence him. Igwe, however, has remained steadfast in his efforts to combat superstition and belief in magic, forging forward with CFI’s Anti-Superstition Campaign across Africa.

From the BBC Website:

“Parents or siblings of children torture them in an attempt to kill them or force confessions from them to admit that they are witches. Mary (14) who was burnt with acid before her mother attempted to bury her alive and Uma Eke (17) who has been left brain-damaged after having a three-inch nail driven into her skull, are just two of the countless children who display the hallmarks of witch-branding. The film also features extraordinary access to preachers who exploit desperate parents by charging exorbitant amounts of money in return for exorcising their children’s spirits. One preacher calls himself ‘The Bishop’ who admits to having killed 110 people in the past and claims he has made a fortune by carrying out ‘deliverances’ on children.”

Be sure to watch this riveting documentary tonight at 8:00 p.m. on HBO2.

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