Witch hunters are busy in Africa. Their prey: children.
From the BBC: "An increasing number of children are being accused of witchcraft in parts of Africa, the UN children's agency says.
A new Unicef report warns that children accused of being witches - some as young as eight - have been been burned, beaten and even killed as punishment. The belief that a child could be a witch is a relatively modern development, researchers say. Until 10-20 years ago, it was women and the elderly who tended to be accused. …Well, thank goodness for that! Can't have outsiders interfering with tribal customs! That would bring to mind the horrors of imperialism.
The agency said there was little it could do about the belief in witchcraft itself, and that it was not trying to eradicate the practice.
But it said violence against children was wrong, and that it would do everything it could to stop it.How sensitive. Africans who accuse people of witchcraft, well, that's their tradition, who are we to say, impose our value judgments, etc., etc. But anybody who'd accuse a child of being a witch might spank a child as well. It's a slippery slope.
Most of those accused of witchcraft are boys aged between eight to 14 - who often end up being attacked, tortured and sometimes killed. Also, children have had petrol poured into their eyes or ears as a way of trying to exorcise "evil spirits" that healers believe have possessed them.Meanwhile, the Tea Party — Tea Partyers? I'm never sure how to refer to them — have entered the exorcism contest.
Tea Party federation expels group over racial writingNational Tea Party Federation? Tea Party Express?
WASHINGTON — The Tea Party political movement saw a major split over the weekend, with the National Tea Party Federation expelling a member group after its spokesman wrote an online post satirizing a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.
On its website, the federation stated it had given the Tea Party Express, through direct contact with one of its leaders, a deadline to rebuke and remove spokesman Mark Williams.
"That leader's response was clear: they have no intention of taking the action we required for their group to continue as a member of the National Tea Party Federation," the federation stated. Therefore, effective immediately the National Tea Party Federation is expelling Tea Party Express from the ranks of our membership."
Williams, who said his letter was satirical, started it like this: "Dear Mr. Lincoln, We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"I am not about to defend this. It's crude and doesn't even work as satire. Williams may have some kind of point, but if so, this is no way to express it.
However, it is distressing that the Tea Party Federation has reacted by excommunicating him and his group. It is distressing, in fact, that there is a "National Tea Party Federation." The Tea Party was supposed to be a true grassroots phenomenon, determined to avoid the perils of "leaders" and sectarianism. Its strength was to be decentralization.
I've been cautiously — very cautiously — optimistic about the Tea Party movement. Cautious because to do any good it would have to get past two great pitfalls.
The first was being co-opted by the Republican Party's Old Guard who would adopt some of the language of the Tea Party to reel in their votes. So far that doesn't seem to have happened, and I'm impressed by the good sense the rebels have shown.
The second danger was exactly what does seem to be happening: going defensive at the inevitable accusations of racism, the R-bomb the Left releases (usually with devastating effect) on its opponents as a matter of routine. The Tea Partyers should have seen this coming and had a counter-strategy: simple denial. Instead, they have put themselves on trial.
It's the same old surrender that has dogged American conservatism for years: trying to fight the corrupt and ruthless Left while accepting the Left's categories. NAACP says you've racism in your ranks? Quick, crank up the show trials! Start the purges! Expel the deviationists. Down with the Tea Party Trotskyists.
This "national federation" seems to believe there's little it can do about the belief in its racism, and is not trying to eradicate the practice. But it will protect its children who cannot stand up to bullying.
July 20: What did I tell you?
The National Tea Party Federation didn't buy itself any goodwill by kicking out this Williams dimwit. According to Eugene Robinson, writing in the supposedly conservative Real Clear Politics:
WASHINGTON -- That was quick. We now have proof the NAACP was right.
When the nation's leading civil rights organization passed a resolution condemning displays of racism by tea party activists, leaders of the movement reacted with umbrage so thick you could cut it with a knife -- then demonstrated that the NAACP's allegation was entirely justified.
The Tea Partyers have now scored a big goal — against themselves. How many more anathemas will be pronounced against people in the movement who don't follow the political correctness style book? How many Tea Party "leaders" will take it on themselves to kneel in the snow outside NAACP headquarters or Jesse Jackson's office to plead forgiveness?
There should be no central Tea Party Politburo deciding who is and isn't on the team. The response to any racial Mafia that questions the Tea Party's bona fides should be, "This is a movement composed of individuals. We understand that the concept of individuals is puzzling to you, since you believe in group rights and authoritarian organization. However, people in our corner speak for themselves. We don't tell anyone what they can and can't say. If individuals offend you or anyone, that's their own problem, or maybe you have a problem. Now back off."
The National Tea Party Federation (whatever that is) has swallowed the bait and taken a no-win position. I'm ashamed of them. Many Tea Partyers are good people who want to restore a constitutional republic in this country, but it seems they now have self-appointed leaders subverting them. That's the trouble with "leaders."