21 May 2008


For a moment it sounds utopian: "Traditional African beliefs, Christianity and Islam co-exist peacefully in Kenya. " But maybe people still have to hate or fear something, and who better to fear or hate than old people? Maybe this impulse crosses all cultures, just like the willingness to believe, first in magic, and then in malignant magic. Even in the 21st century of the "Common Era" there remains an ancient habit of ascribing supernatural powers to people just as the habit persists of ascribing similar if not greater powers to an invisible being. It's not a specific product of Christianity or even monotheism. Indeed, it may exist wherever people believe in the supernatural. It obviously exists in cosmopolitan Kenya, and it will do no one any good to look down their noses or sniff at supposed savages without first remembering all the superstitions and even the fears of witchcraft (as allegedly promoted by the Harry Potter books) that flourish in our own enlightened land. This story is the whole world's shame, not Kenya's alone.

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