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Burnt Alive for Witchcraft

April 19, 2009

I watched this video on Friendly Atheist’s blog and just couldn’t pass it up. This video is a testimony to the scale of monstrosity we humans are capable of and what better excuse than religion.  If you want to know why I dislike blind-belief and superstition so much, this video is a good example.

According to the info provided for the video, it’s a video of 5 elderly people (over 80,  out of whom 4 were women ) being burnt alive for witchcraft in western Kenya.

I am not going to describe the video as I don’t think I have the words to describe such cruelty and you may have to watch it yourself to understand it.

Please be warned that the video is extremely graphic.


 UPDATE: The video below has been removed by youtube but is available at (Thanks Sandip for pointing it out)



If someone wants to understand why witchcraft persists in Africa, even today, here’s one opinion on it [Africa: Why Belief in Witchcraft Remains Strong Among Africans]

Belief in witchcraft is part and parcel of the moral universe as understood in African Traditional Religion. Contrary to popular belief, African Religion is still alive and well.

In African religious thought, the universe created by God ought to be harmonious, balanced and good. But mysterious evil powers exist that disrupt this order. Evil originates not merely from the breaking of taboos and other laws, but from spiritual, mystical powers at work in the universe.

The eminent Tanzanian theologian Fr. Laurent Magesa explains that witchcraft is supernatural. The witch is a person possessing or possessed of, or by, supernatural forces which he or she uses knowingly or unknowingly, selectively or indiscriminately, to harm others often for no apparent reason. Magesa writes that “evil, in the African perception, is always incarnated; it does not exist except as it exists in the evil person, that is, in the witch.


knowingly or unknowingly, selectively or indiscriminately ??? !!!

Isn’t that convenient ?


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15 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2009 12:39 am

    Ok. that video probably scarred me for life. But I had to see it – difficult to say why – probably to harden my belief against superstitions and other theological nonsense.

    Some years back I had seen a public humiliation of a lady in Malda (West Bengal) who was suspected of being a witch. We tonsure,blacken face, beat up to near death etc. here in India to this day. Even though I haven’t yet heard of witch burning in India in recent years.

    BTW, youtube has pulled that video. But i think that video is available elsewhere e.g. at

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 20, 2009 6:25 am

      Sandip, Thanks for pointing that out. I have left an update on my post. Yes, I couldn’t watch the entire thing but got a glimpse of it.

      You are right such things persist in India too. The Times of India reports of such incidents quite frequently and I wonder how long would it take for us to shed such idiotic notions.

  2. April 20, 2009 5:43 pm

    Yeah such things happen and will keep n happening 🙂
    Masses never change 😀

  3. April 21, 2009 12:21 pm

    I saw that video wen it was voted up on Digg or Reddit (I can’t remember which). Its horrific and made me sick to my stomach.

    This is pertinent to your earlier post(s) which shows how religion manages to transform otherwise normal people into crazed savages.

    These so-called “heretics” were part of the same community and must have been known to them for some time. But once proclaimed as “heretics” all of the past experiences and relationships evaporated and the public just came out with blood-lust on their mind.

    These are the same people who would otherwise nurse their wounded or sick. But when consumed by religious or pseudo-religious passions, they took leave of their senses and descended into savagery.

    Now you will hear from religious apologists of every stripe saying that “This kind of brutality is not a part of their creed”. And yet most religions have this as a part of their legacy and some actually have this as a part of their present-day practices – notably Islam.

    Its only a matter of time before some video like this emerges out of some corner of India where some kind of human sacrifice is made to propitiate Durga or some other diety. There will be condemnation and outrage – but everyone will conveniently ignore the main culprit – RELIGION.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 21, 2009 8:16 pm

      You raise a very pertinent point. Religion is invariable ALWAYS used to justify such deeds. This is the same with villages in India. People are often branded ‘dayeens’ for no apparent reason etc? I have an aunt who is a professor of Anthropolology in India and she actually researched such phenomenon prevalent in Indian villages. Her conclusions were not too different from what this link says. It’s not religion that gives rise to it but it is always used to justify it.

      Btw check this wikipedia link for recent human sacrifices in India.

  4. April 22, 2009 10:45 am

    the vidoe is not opening. anyway i dont have the stomach for it.
    unfortunately, religion has always been a divisive force and a source of violence from time immemorial.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 24, 2009 6:54 pm


      Thanks for your comment. The video is available at liveleak as linked in the post.

  5. April 23, 2009 7:39 am

    I am glad the video is not there. It’s disgusting. Humans are the most beastly of all animals I think…and religion is invariably used for such inhuman acts… it’s like when you have blind faith in anything, it is likely to be misused..

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 24, 2009 6:51 pm

      @IHM, The video can be found on Liveleak as linked above the youtube video. Btw, check the link I copied to Holydude’s reply. Religion is always used as an excuse when there’s no other excuse available.

  6. May 1, 2009 10:45 am

    shit shit shit!!]
    who does this? where is humanity?devoured by religion?

    this made me puke 😦

  7. May 5, 2009 7:40 am

    Did you read the piece on Slate by Johann Hari?

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 5, 2009 9:35 am

      Thanks for the link. Will take a look at it.

  8. May 19, 2009 6:25 pm

    Well NN. I couldn’t bare to watch the whole thing. It’s nasty and scary.

    BUT funnily enough even hindus believe in witch craft and black magic. They have a day dedicated to it which is the day before Diwali. And they also say a new moon and a full moon are the strongest days for witch craft. How it works is beyond me. BUT mother does this thing to get rid of the “evil eye” and anything “bad” that anyone has wished upon us. She does this chant thing whilst using salt, dry chillis, etc (can’t remember what else) and going around your head 7 times.

    And this is ALWAYS done on the day before Diwali. And sometimes on a sunday, tuesday or thursday. She also had a lime plus 7 fresh chillis above the door of our home to catch anything bad entering the house and anyone trying to wish bad upon us or the house.

    So you get the picture on how superstitious my mother is. And I’m assuming you know all about the rituals carried out by hindus around black magic, etc.

    P.S. There is more that has happened BUT I will email you later.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 19, 2009 8:37 pm

      Yes I am aware of such a practice. I have seen some people in our family do it too. I have posted some links in the comments section about the real reason behind believing in withcraft. Check them out if you are interested.


  1. The Allure of Witch Hunting «

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