Superstition and Other Silliness: June 2004 Archives

June 29, 2004

Belief in witchcraft stymies committee

Botswana: The activities of a Village Development Committee (VDC) have ground to a halt because of the members' belief in witchcraft. Whenever there is a problem, no-one will raise the issue for fear that they will be cursed. Facillitators at the umbrella organisation Botswana Community Based Organization Network (BOCOBONET) are exasperated:

Abel Mabei a facilitator from BOCOBONET, told the participants to be vigilant, ignore witchcraft and always elect responsible committee members. Mabei said it was high time people learnt that witchcraft does not exist. He warned that if witchcraft beliefs' overpower their thinking the village would lag behind in development projects. He told the participants that a committee must not sit in office for a long time since it risks becoming redundant. He said a committee must only sit for one term then a new one should be elected. VDC committees should be elected annually so that people don't occupy the same position for long. People should do their part and then go while those who elected them still love them. If they stay long, then you start to see their wrong doings and that's when fear is initiated, he said pointing out that some members were power hungry such that they would do anything to get re-elected. Even witchcraft can be used as a tool depending on people's beliefs, he said.
Mabei said all members in the committee should know that they have the same powers as the chairman and are allowed to challenge him or her. The facilitator said that the chairman is a leader and was not supposed to be feared. You should not treat your leader like a god. The leader is your mouthpiece and should not be feared. If fear rules, you will be oppressed by power hungry people, he said, adding that things are stolen in community projects and people keep quiet out of fear. He said leaders enslave others and personalize organizations by threatening or dividing people through fear and people choose to keep quite hence the whole system collapses.

Witchcraft leads to poor performance of VDC - MMEGI, 29th June 2004.

June 26, 2004

'Islamic' black magic

Tanzania: A Muslim member of parliament has threatened to cast a spell on government ministers if nothing is done to fight corruption.

He told parliament that he would use a Koranic verse to make ministers drop deadlike locusts...

...Mr [Masoud Haroub] Saidi, MP for Koani in Pemba Isle, said that he decided to turn to the Koran because as a Muslim he believes that it is the strongest method of punishing corrupt elements.

When we [Muslims] want to stop things from happening we use Halbadiri - an Islamic death curse.

Halbadiri cannot harm a clean person. But those people who continue to commit such evil deeds will be affected, he said.

It doesn't sound like the sort of thing a good Muslim would do - I thought Islam had the same kind of downer on magic as Christianity. Anyone know better?

Death curse for Tanzania ministersBBC News, 25th June 2004.

June 24, 2004

Sweating it out

Nepal: devotees are worried after a statue of Bhima, the second Pandava, started to 'sweat'. Apparently, the holy perspiration always comes before a terrible disaster.

Disaster, most Nepalese believe, has befallen their country every time the image sheds sweat. And the catalogue of such calamities is quite long, the most recent one being the 2001 massacre of King Birendra and his family.
In the past, the sweating had preceded the 1934 earthquake that killed thousands in Kathmandu, the 1940 hanging of Nepal's first four democracy fighters by the Ranas, the 1950 anti-Rana revolution, the passing away of King Tribhuvan and King Mahendra (grandfather and father of the present monarch) in 1953 and 1972 respectively and the 1988 earthquake that caused destruction in many parts of the kingdom.

Anxious Nepal tries to placate 'sweating' deity - Hindustan Times, 23rd June 2004.

June 15, 2004

Catholic Church Outsourcing Prayers To India

United States: As if it wasn't bad enough that IT workers were losing their jobs to overseas outsourcers, now the Catholics are outsourcing prayers to Indian priests.

With Roman Catholic clergy in short supply in the United States, Indian priests are picking up some of their work, saying Mass for special intentions, in a sacred if unusual version of outsourcing.

American, as well as Canadian and European churches, are sending Mass intentions, or requests for services like those to remember deceased relatives and thanksgiving prayers, to clergy in India.

About 2 percent of India's more than one billion people are Christians, most of them Catholics.

June 11, 2004

Lazy Cops Blame Satan

Italy: The lovely Feòrag passed this on to me before she departed for her tour of the continent. Well, bits of it. All right, the fine purveyors of beer in Berlin.

It seems that the plods in Milan are either incredibly lazy, superstitious or both. When confronted with the bodies of two teenagers, rather than investigate, they jumped to the astounding conclusion that, as they were both members of a metal band, their deaths were the work of Satanists.

A gruesome find in a wood outside Milan has sparked fears that bored young Italians could be coming under the influence of Satanic cults.
The news has caused an outbreak of soul-searching in Catholic Italy.
Even hardened police officers were shocked by what they found outside the sleepy commuter town of Busto Arsizio.
Two teenagers' bodies were discovered in a makeshift grave, killed — police say — as part of a satanic ritual involving sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Hmm... sex, drugs and rock and roll, in my part of the world we call that a party.

June 2, 2004

Waiter, There's A Crustacean In My Water

United States: A sect of loony fundies in New York, obviously of the belief that there's nothing more important to worry about in the world, have their knickers in a twist over crusteceans in their drinking water.

Orthodox Jews in New York have become concerned that the city's drinking water may not be kosher because it contains tiny crustaceans known as copepods.
The organisms, which measure about a millimeter long, pose no threat to human health, according to the city Department of Environmental Protection. But Orthodox teaching bars the eating of crustaceans — aquatic animals with skeletons outside their bodies, including shrimp, crab and lobsters.
The organisms first came to the attention of Jewish leaders in Brooklyn two weeks ago, The New York Times reported Tuesday. An Israeli produce company that exports kosher vegetables to New York alleged that its products had become infested with insects after being washed in the city's water.

If you're a company involved in water filters or bottled water it looks like scaring the insane is a great way to boost business.

Orthodox Jews Worry Water Isn't Kosher - AP, 1st June 2004.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Superstition and Other Silliness category from June 2004.

Superstition and Other Silliness: May 2004 is the previous archive.

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