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A Tanzanian murder
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-11-03 07:49:55
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albino01_400Reading in the news that four Tanzanians were sentenced to death by hanging for killing an albino man – one of the dozens albinos killed in the country – makes me feel really sad. Sad for the man who died because he born albino and sad for the four men that let centuries superstitions to lead them to a murder and in sequence to their own death.

albino02_400I have express in many ways and any times my opposition to the death penalty and the death sentence even when the state is going to change it …in the name of international relations like it might happen in this case in Tanzania and I think or better strongly believe that the death penalty is an act of revenge and nothing more or less. Unfortunately Tanzania now is coming to excuse my believe because what else motivates the state to kill these people except revenge!

Superstition has long been the enemy of every kind of progress and when it joins religion becomes a lethal enemy. In the case of Tanzania – and this is NOT the only African country with similar incidents – the believe that albinos bones bring prosperity, luck, health and albino03_400riches has coast lives, human lives. And please don’t take it from granted that this is Tanzanian privilege and don’t be surprise if you find out that albino bones are in the pockets of gentlemen in Europe or in the states. And all that means one and only thing, that there is demand and demand prepared to pay a lot without questions asked. And this is the beginning and the end of this crimes. But what causes this demand? Lack if education, lack of understanding.

Do the problem in Tanzania is not a group of unconscious criminals who kill albinos but is a state with lack of education that lets superstitions to control its life and most likely the country’s future. This is a fact, a reality and not fantasy or albino04superstition. Killing the four men the Tanzanian state doesn’t stop the crimes against the albinos in the country; it is just making the criminals just more conscious and careful to be caught! And the scary thing about the whole case is that is not organized crime, wyes there are gangs “specialize” into this short of crimes and what follows with the bodies of the murdered but because it is a popular superstition it is expanding in the simple people, in villages and small communities when a natural disaster can become a bad omen with one and only solution the albino sacrifice.

Tanzania is just one of the countries/states/communities victimised in the worst possible way from superstition and the only way to stop something that can lead even to a murder is by educating people, let them see what and why they are doing, help them to understand and stop it themselves. By sentencing people to death the states show revenge and they don’t stop the problem, they just cover their own responsibilities and in extent their accomplice to the crime.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-11-03 10:48:56
“Superstition has long been the enemy of every kind of progress and when it joins religion becomes a lethal enemy.”

While agreeing with the first part of the above statement (which would include horoscopes published in “progressive” publications as another form of superstition), I submit that the second half of that statement needs some clarification. All the way back in the 12th century Aquinas taught us via his Summa that a genuine religion is never based on superstition but on reason and it is misguided to think of faith as contradicting reason, and vice versa. The two are not mutually exclusive. They are only mutually exclusive in the mind of those with a bias against religion. That is not to say that superstition is never coupled with religious practices; it is just as it found in progressive publications who publish the horoscope. It is to say rather that when that happens you no longer have a genuine religion but a cult of sort which in the hands of a fanatic becomes very destructive. The distinction between a cult and a religion seems to me crucial. Not to make that distinction is to join the religion bashers.

The issue of capital punishment is a separate issue, but there too it perhaps needs to pointed out that no society that leaves murder unpunished will long survive. Sure, a murder needs to be rehabilitated but rehabilitation is distinct from the enforcing of the law. Most viable societies have murder in their legal code as a punishable crime. Of course the punishment need not be death and in fact rehabilitation as well as repentance and even redemption is only possible if the criminal is not killed.

Emanuel Paparella2009-11-03 10:51:01
Errata: will not long survive.

Emanuel Paparella2009-11-03 11:06:55
Errata: a murderer needs to be rehabilitated.

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