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Friday, January 26, 2007

Let's make this history

Despite all of our complaints and our differences in the United States, we are among the most fortunate people on the planet today. We are among the most fortunate people who have ever lived. I mean all of that to say that, myself included, we are all guilty of taking our welfare and our blessings for granted. Reading a story like this one from CNN reminds me just how much we have to be thankful for and how horrible conditions are for many people in the world even now:

Four Papua New Guinea women, believed by fellow villagers to have used sorcery to cause a fatal road crash, were tortured with hot metal rods to confess, then murdered and buried standing up in a pit, said police. The National newspaper said on Wednesday that police had only just uncovered the grisly murders, which occurred last October near the town of Goroka in the jungle-clad highlands some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital, Port Moresby. Black magic is widespread in the South Pacific nation where most of the 5.1 million population live subsistence lives. Women suspected of being witches are often hung or burned to death.
I have nothing but sympathy for these women and their families. The idea of living in a culture that would condone this kind of atrocity is so foreign from what the rest of us experience each day that I really can't imagine waking up to find myself in their country. At the same time, this level of thinking is where we as Americans existed a few centuries earlier, and we would have burned or drowned innocent people in similar circumstances. I'm reminded again of the U2 song, "Crumbs From Your Table:"
Where you live should not decide
Whether you live or whether you die
This will never be a perfect world, but it will be that much closer when horrible actions like this no longer take place. I'm relieved only that this kind of tragedy is uncommon enough, at least on our side of the world, to qualify as news. Here's hoping that it qualifies only as history someday soon.

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