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There's no place like home

I ran across a couple of news stories over the past couple days that has reminded me why it's a good thing I loathe travel. The first, I shit you not, involves eating albinos. That's pretty far out there.

Criminals believed to be linked to witch doctors killed an 8-year-old albino boy in eastern Burundi and took two of his arms and a leg, a rights group and an official said Friday. Killings of albinos, whom many central Africans believe to have magical powers, have increased in the past year to support a growing trade in albino body parts. Three men with machetes attacked the boy in Cankuzo Province, said Kassim Kazungu, head of Burundi’s Albinos Association. The killing, which occurred Thursday, was confirmed by a prosecutor in the neighboring province. Mr. Kazungu said six albinos had been killed in Burundi since last September, while a seventh is missing. Smugglers in Burundi are believed to take albinos’ organs and limbs to Tanzania, where witch doctors use them for charms. In Tanzania, at least 35 albinos, mostly women and children, were killed in 2008, according to the Tanzania Albino Society.

Hell, and you thought that walking through a cracktown at night was dangerous. At least you can be pretty sure the junkies will just rob you and/or kick your ass. They don't usually hack off body parts for souvineers. I'm guessing that makeup probably goes for a premium in this place. Hmmm. I wonder how long Michael Jackson would last over there if we airdropped him. If that doesn't sound like a good new reality tv show, I don't know what does. I'd watch it.

The other segment in the news of the absurd is an oldie but goodie.

A woman in rural Papua New Guinea was bound and gagged, tied to a log and set ablaze on a pile of tires this week, possibly because villagers suspected her of being a witch, police said Thursday.

Her death adds to a growing list of men and women who have been accused of sorcery and then tortured or killed in the South Pacific island nation, where traditional beliefs hold sway in many regions.

The victims are often scapegoats for someone else's unexplained death -- and bands of tribesmen collude to mete out justice to them for their supposed magical powers, police said.

Early Tuesday morning, a group of people dragged the woman, believed to be in her late teens to early 20s, to a dumping ground outside the city of Mount Hagen. They stripped her naked, bound her hands and legs, stuffed a cloth in her mouth, tied her to a log and set her on fire, Mauba said.

What I never quite understand is how the reasoning goes. I mean, if you really believe that this person has supernatural powers and can cause death at will, why the hell would you join the lynch mob? Well, why would you join the front of the lynch mob anyway. I can see sort of following along near the back so in case something fubar'ed you could still sprint home and pretend that you were there all along. Maybe they figured that it would take her some prep time and that she just happened to be out of the much needed ingredient of magical albino parts. Curse you, fedex! You promised overnight delivery!

It always helps to remember that most of the rest of the world is a sewer.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
I'd pay to see Michael Jackson eaten by Albino hunters.

Honestly though, he's kind of splotchy, due to the vitaligo. You think they'd just cut off and leave the dark meat?
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
I imagine it would vary from witchdoctor to witchdoctor. Some are no doubt more lax than others. That's why you really have to shop around and not simply stop at the first hut you see with a bundle of shriveled heads outside.
Jan. 8th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Omg, that is so horrible!!
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)
It's probably pretty hard to hide as an albino in Africa. Poor bastards probably wish they were born in sweden.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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