Magic and Witchcraft
Despite History’s long record of defeats for those who embrace magic as martial strategy, young African men still line up as recruits in answer to the witch doctor’s siren call for magic wars. Despite the promises of village witch doctors, the gods of war have not been kind to these young fighters. How can these events still be occurring in the Twenty-First Century? The reasons for the magic wars in central Africa may lie in a complex mixture of cultural, societal, and religious forces.
A glimpse into a fascinating yet horrifying world, a world little-known outside of Africa, a world of religion and violence where “Magic wars” have claimed the lives of thousands, many of them children conscripted into “The Lord’s Resistance Army” to fight in “Joseph Kony’s Spirit War.”
In the study of religion among primal peoples you find that many believed in “magic.” Magic is defined as the belief that supernatural forces can be controlled, influenced and manipulated by executing a ritualistic formula, either physical or verbal. We still, today, in a more fashionable way, utilize superstition, prayer wheels, magic, sacrifices and elaborate doxologies to induce God to favor our requests, grant our wishes and perform miracles upon demand.
If you thought that witch hunts had ended long ago, you would be wrong. “Currently, African societies are at the same critical historical juncture that propelled much of Europe out of a period of deadly superstitions, nearly three centuries ago, a time when Europeans executed those believed to be witches and warlocks. Between 1991 and 2001, a total of 22,000 to 23,000 Africans were lynched to death, by fearful neighbors, as witches.”