Sorcery killings need to stop

Editorial

THE Government and its relevant authorities have been quiet on the issue of sorcery-related deaths that is sweeping parts of our nation without being reported.
You will only hear comments from the government when an incident is reported in the media.
Regardless of whether cases are being reported or not, action is needed.
Action is years overdue and too many innocent victims haunt those who care for the future of this country.
Killing supposed witches by fire was a common European custom for centuries and thousands of men, women and children met barbarous deaths tied to stakes as the flames consumed their limbs.
That era has passed in those countries.
The fact that it occurred at all is a damning of many aspects of society at that time and of many other hideous cruelties.
But that wholesale killing has ceased.
Are we to hide behind the fact Europeans once burned witness as justification for this disgusting ritual to continue in modern PNG?
We dare to call ourselves ‘a Christian people’.
Are we?
Committed Christians could not stand and see those who have committed no crime lose their lives.
The media receives criticisms for highlighting these stories.
We welcome the criticisms for highlighting these stories which should be told and not pushed under the carpet because some describe as negative news.
We will continue to highlight such killings until the community and the leaders they have elected wake up and take positive actions. Most times, photographs of the twisted remains of those killed are not published because they were gut-wrenching. Most of those killed were women who were mothers and grandmothers.
What chance will their children have of reaching adulthood as most would have been marked as the offspring of a slaughtered witch?
Has there been any move by authorities to safeguard their lives or to protect them for future attacks.
It is impossible not to compare the many deaths reported in the past decade.
We doubt that the government will move one centimetre further towards acting against this often repeated horror.
And perhaps worst of all will be the reaction of the outside world.
Can you imagine Papua New Guineans working or studying overseas trying to explain such a barbaric custom to their hostel mates and colleague?
It is, we believe, fair to predict that many people beyond our shores will dismiss the story with a shrug of the shoulders and the comment ‘Oh well, what can you expect? That’s Papua New Guinea, one of the most primitive countries on earth.’
If no one in a position of authority and influence is standing up to call this action evil, who will?
We must take a stand.
We have said this already that it takes a person with courage to speak the truth and blast through the pretense and lies.
There is no positive future for this country if we continue to believe in this sanguma story and accuse, torture and murder our innocent men and women.
The challenge is now on our churches and government leaders to speak up.
The media must continue publishing it so the whole country knows what each church is saying, what each minister and MP is saying.
Again, what is needed, is education.
Unless the people are empowered and transformed, this is an attitude problem constructed and crafted by cultural and traditional practices and beliefs.
Collaboration is the way forward to deal with this issue.
A society that does not protect the vulnerable, the children, the aged, the handicapped and the poor is a failed society.
Action has to start first with prevention.

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