Top Story: The BBC leads with a story about ritual child-killings in Uganda, saying that the problem may be more widespread than previously thought. At the center of this investigation is former witch-doctor turned anti-sacrifice campaigner Polino Angela, who claims that he himself sacrificed children, including his own son.
When he returned to Uganda he says he was told by those who had initiated him to kill his own son, aged 10. “I deceived my wife and made sure that everyone else had gone away and I was with my child alone. Once he was placed down on the ground, I used a big knife and brought it down like a guillotine.”
That sounds truly horrific, and the BBC rightly asks him if he’s willing to be prosecuted for the 70 people he claims to have killed in his former witch-doctoring life. The answer may (or may not) surprise you.
Asked if he was afraid he might now be prosecuted as a result of confessing to killing 70 people, he said: “I have been to all the churches… and they know me as a warrior in the drive to end witchcraft that involves human sacrifice, so I think that alone should indemnify me and have me exonerated.”
After that quote, I started questioning the validity of the entire article. It isn’t that I don’t believe children aren’t being abducted, abused, and killed in several African nations. There’s of plenty of evidence for that. I also acknowledge that some witch-doctors are indeed killing and mutilating certain children for various reasons. But the following portrait painted by the BBC, with help from Mr. Angela, raises many of my old “Satanic Panic” red flags. How often did we see former “Satanists” who claimed to have participated in murders and kidnappings, yet never bothered turning themselves into the police for one reason or another. There are other flags, a “nationwide network” of witch-doctors, with a “boss” who takes a cut of all the money, for example. To reiterate, I do think children are being harmed, and I think some of those harming children may in fact be witch doctors, but I’m deeply skeptical of some of the claims being raised here. They sound a little too perfect and well-organized to be fully true.
In Other News: New York city councilman, and practicing Theodsman, Dan Halloran, has been enjoying his recent electoral victory at a series of swearing-ins, functions, and parties. Connor Adams Sheets at YourNabe.com brings us an account of Halloran’s January 3rd swearing-in at the Fort Totten Officer’s Club in Bayside.
“The fete was a joyous end to a bitter campaign during which Halloran’s pagan faith was used against him; accusations of racism were cast by the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Kevin Kim; and both camps’ political rhetoric often degenerated into mudslinging. Beginning with the national anthem sung by Bayside cantor Margaret Abel and a rousing performance by a police bagpipe group, the ceremony was filled with humor, back-slapping and enthusiasm about the work Halloran will do for his native district over the next four years. Halloran pledged to uphold during his term the conservative principles he campaigned on by working to reduce taxes and help small business owners and middle-class families.”
Several local Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), and Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), showed up to the event, perhaps signaling an openness to bipartisan cooperation from both sides. We will, of course, be watching his political career with interest in the coming four years.
Want another perspective on “Avatar”? I hope that answer is “yes”, because here is author and techgnostic Erik Davis weighing in, saying that perhaps the film is more “ayahuasca lite” than “noble savage mysticism”.
“OK, maybe I am the one smoking something. But if there is an aya-Avatar connection, it would explain one crucial way in which the film differs from conventional “noble savage” mysticism. Rather than ground the Na’vi’s grooviness in their folklore or spiritual purity, the film instead presents the vision of a direct and material communications link with the plant mind. Which means that Eyra does not have to be believed—she can be experienced. After the temporary fusion with the Tree of Souls that fails to prevent her death, Weaver’s chain-smoking left-brain doctor happily confirms Ewya’s existence. Like the Vine of Souls now wending its way through the developed world, the Tree of Souls becomes a kind of bio-mystical media, a visionary communications matrix that uplinks the souls of the dead and the network mind of the ecosphere itself.”
So perhaps “Avatar” isn’t so much about pagan pantheism, but instead about communicating with the “plant mind”? Then again, perhaps the film is whatever people want it to be. Different meanings for different minds. Wouldn’t that mean it’s great art? Perhaps the clunky dialog and trite plot are merely there as a prop for a mystical experience?
For those of you awaiting the “Lords of Chaos” movie adaptation, starring teen heartthrob Jackson Rathbone as Varg Vikernes, it looks like plans have changed. Rathbone is out due to “scheduling conflicts”, the production time-table has been shifted, and the plot of the film may be getting an overhaul. That last tidbit of news coming from Vikernes himself.
“Now, they are apparently basing the story of this movie not on my story, but on the ‘Lords Of Chaos’ story. Unfortunately the ‘Lords Of Chaos’ story is not only nonsense; incoherent and utterly contradictive, but it is also very lacking in information regarding the lives and traits of the individuals to be included as characters in the movie. One could easily think that this would make it impossible for anybody to make a movie based on this book, but of course if you simply fill in the holes yourself…”
With the movie seemingly in chaos, will they proceed? Will they pull a “Velvet Goldmine” and fictionalize the story to avoid more problems with the living-breathing subjects they want to tell a story about? Will the film get stuck in development hell? Your guess is as good as mine at this point.
In a final note, the Indian Express reports on a relatively new development, girls publicly performing Vedic prayer-chants, something that has been considered taboo for many Indians.
“Eight all-girl teams lined up on a foggy Delhi morning, raised their faces towards the sun and chanted Vedic suktas (prayers). In four minutes each, they breached with ease barriers that most Indian women are still not allowed to approach. The Vedic chanting event was part of the three-day Inter-School Value Festival held at the Sri Satya Sai Vidya Vihar Girls’ Public School, Kalkaji. Eight of 11 Sri Satya Sai Schools in North India are taking part in the event that began on Tuesday. “Vedic chanting by women was a social taboo in India, but things have started improving. In many parts of the country, women chanting suktas are still frowned upon,” said one of the judges at the competition, requesting anonymity.”
Let’s hear it for the breaking down of outmoded barriers, and for the freedom of women to publicly praise the goddesses, gods, and elements, of their homeland.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!