Demons 'possess' Ugandan kids - News24

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ArgumentumAdHominem (February 05, 2008, 16:23:02 PM):
When all else fails ... blame the supernatural.

According to News24 a Ugandan newspaper reported that the principal of Sir Tito Winyi Primary School, Mr. Vincent Kitende, is at his wit's end dealing with possessed children.

Currently there are 100 students running amok at the school repeating the pattern of a similar event late last year where 200 possessed children terrorised the school.

What's the bet that the pattern will continue? As long as the town elders insist that it is possession, the kids will have a role to play - it is like following a (rather bad) script.

As long as nobody gets hurt, who cares, right? Let them believe what they want to? Well, it looks like last time around some people were hurt ...

Quote from: News24: Demons 'possess' Ugandan kids - 5 Feb 2008
Last year, four Hoima residents were arrested for casting a spell on the school, the paper reported.

It only says that they were arrested, not charged. But who knows, maybe arrest is a life sentence in a country like Uganda? Even once released these people would be ostracised by the community. I can't comment on these four people's role in the drama; perhaps they were "barbarians" (in the anthropological sense - an antonym to "tribal") who enjoyed the attention of being thought of that way, or perhaps they were four innocent people rounded-up because the police had to be seen to be doing something about the problem, either way they are most definately victims.

It seems that prayer has not helped, which is why the principal is worried. Perhaps they're doing it a bit wrong? Surely prayer can cure demon possession? Or would it be more effective to let go of the deep-seated belief in woo-woo so that within a generation mass-possession will be a thing of the past?

I like that the News24 article title indicates that it is unlikely to be factual (or at the very least unsubstantiated) by the use of apostrophes, but do you think that position is clear to the reader? I'd like it if the article was a little more scathing of these beliefs and what the beliefs have done to this community.
Mefiante (February 05, 2008, 17:20:14 PM):
It’s yet another instance on a growing list of a long-standing bugbear we have with the media. Basically, there’s this notion that the press may not express an opinion on a matter for fear of giving offence (except maybe in editorials or columns where political or social issues are discussed). Up to a point, this is tolerable but it actually detracts from the reporter/writer/publication’s credibility in cases where the thing being reported is clearly preposterous or plainly erroneous, such as free energy/perpetual motion machines, assorted quack medicine, and other woo-wooities. The underlying striving is for impartial and “balanced” reporting – noble ideals, to be sure – but usually these are got, it seems, at the cost of diligent investigation and misplaced respect.

The eventual upshot of the aforementioned barrage of no-particular-point-of-view information is the kind of egregious stupidity we witnessed a few days ago when the topic of Madeleine McCann and Danie Krugel’s involvement came up in a conversation. We pointed out the extreme physical unlikelihood of what Krugel claimed he was doing with hair and the head that sprouted it. One person then in all earnest suggested that Krugel must be using a psychic to find people.

'Luthon64
ArgumentumAdHominem (February 05, 2008, 19:37:03 PM):
The underlying striving is for impartial and "balanced" reporting

Once again; you are right. In my haste to post (or post-haste?) I didn't consider that the media is meant to be impartial. There is no way that the journoes at New24 have first-hand knowledge of the events, rather they are repeating a story as reported in a Ugandan newspaper. This blind repetition can't really be said to be impartial because the impartiality of the copy depends on the impartiality of the original author of the Ugandan article. Even still, your point is valid, the scathing journalism I was looking for is far from impartial and would belong in an opinion/editorial column.

I guess that's why I'm not a journo (among the many other reasons).

So, if I'm not being impartial, neither is Amlan Tumusiime from The New Vision newspaper. The original article is entitled Demons hit school. The language all the way through doesn't even entertain the slightest doubt about the existence of demons. Even the "balanced" view from Paul Nyende, a lecturer at Makerere University is sympathetic to the idea of demons.
Quote from: Amlan Tumusiime: Demons hit school - 4 Feb 2008
However, experts said the children could be facing mental challenges. "It could also be a form of mass hysteria where there is anxiety and bizarre behaviour," said Paul Nyende, a lecturer at Makerere University's department of mental health and community psychology.

"But it does not mean demons do not exist and the school may need to get services from religious exorcists. The pupils also need counselling because it is a traumatic experience."

But at least they are dedicated to dealing with this situation the best way they know how ...

Quote from: Amlan Tumusiime: Demons hit school - 4 Feb 2008
The assistant chief administrative officer for Buhaguzi county, Hannington Asaba, said prayers would be held to solve the matter.

... even if it didn't work before. There's a quote about the definition of insanity which I'm sure you're all familiar with.

What I like most about this article is the description of the court case of the four accused from the previous possession incident.

Quote from: Amlan Tumusiime: Demons hit school - 4 Feb 2008
Last year, four residents of the area, one of them a Congolese national, were arrested and charged in a Hoima court with casting a spell on the school. However, when the prosecution produced witnesses, court had to adjourn and magistrate George Obong and the prosecutors fled the courtroom after the pupils who were witnesses became hysterical again when they saw the suspects.

Sounds like a fair synopsis of the key scene from one of my favourite plays; The Crucible. :D


The eventual upshot of the aforementioned barrage of no-particular-point-of-view information is the kind of egregious stupidity we witnessed a few days ago when the topic of Madeleine McCann and Danie Krugel's involvement came up in a conversation. We pointed out the extreme physical unlikelihood of what Krugel claimed he was doing with hair and the head that sprouted it. One person then in all earnest suggested that Krugel must be using a psychic to find people.

I'd laugh if this was an uncommon event, I'd go insane if I thought about it too much.
Mefiante (February 06, 2008, 11:00:48 AM):
… (or post-haste?) …
;D



It’s possible that Amlan Tumusiime resorted to a bit of leading questioning, followed by some selective quoting of Paul Nyende but this would be speculation. If Nyende volunteered without any provocation the bit that goes “it does not mean demons do not exist and the school may need to get services from religious exorcists,” my inclination would be to relieve him of both his post and his university degree(s) because he clearly has difficulties not only with Occam’s razor but also with psychology (his field of study) when pandering to the superstitious delusions of the people involved. But then Zimbabwe recently re-enacted anti-witchcraft legislation, so who are we to argue?



I'd laugh if this was an uncommon event, I'd go insane if I thought about it too much.
“Och, aye,” as the Scots are wont to exclaim assent. Actually, the proposal was that Krugel secretly used a psychic, and said clanger, upon having its sincerity grasped, prompted a frantic search for a suitably solid vertical surface on which to test the resilience of one’s cranium…

'Luthon64

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