Witchcraft in the 21st Century

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Plutonius, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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    #1
    A report shows that Ghana is still imprisoning thousands of women accused of practicing witchcraft. There are little or no health and sanitation facilities and some women have been there for decades.

    Should the US government put pressure on the Ghana government to remedy the situation ? We supply foreign aid to Ghana and many other small countries. Should we have strings attached to the aid to pressure countries to end human rights abuses ?
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #2
    No. We should invade them, occupy them, and force them to conform to our standards.

    Or ELSE!
     
  3. Plutonius thread starter macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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    #3
    That's what we have done in the past in many situations but, do you think that we should get involved with this issue in Ghana and do we continue to give them foreign aid with no strings attached ?
     
  4. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #4
    1. Why would you assume foreign aid has "no stings attached"?

    2. I remember (fondly) a former President, Jimmy Carter, who tried to tie foreign aid to human rights ... he's roundly considered a failed and weak president (though not by me).
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #5
    Reading the plethora of mindless threads (and posts) on some parts of the forum (and not just the political section) could lead one to contemplate the dubious joys of oblivion in a glass of something from grape or grain.

    Nevertheless, an excellent post and a very nicely made point.

    And yes, I always rather liked - and respected - Mr Carter when he served as President.

    In the world of election observation, and democratisation, the work of the Carter Centre is highly rated, regarded and respected.
     
  6. sodapop1 Suspended

    sodapop1

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    #6
    How about that as a legal defense for beating your ex-wife? I dreamt that she was a which so I beat her down.

    I honestly don't see what the U.S. could do here. This is more cultural and not as if the government was trying to crack down on witches.
     
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #7
    @Plutonius, I have read that piece, - and the Express is not a source I would regard as having the same authority as, say, the Guardian (or, FT, for that matter). However, it does beg a question.

    What in that report suggests that whatever aid the US gives to Ghana (and the report is about British diplomat expressing concerns) comes without conditions attached? Or, are you simply assuming that this is the case?
     
  8. Plutonius thread starter macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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    #8
    You are correct in that the report says nothing about US aid. I myself was wondering if and how much aid we give to Ghana after reading the article. According to an internet search, the US is giving yearly foreign aid although I could find no numbers for this year.

    I guess the question I was asking was hypothetical. If we know human rights violations are occurring, what moral obligation does our country have to trying to stop it or at least stop giving money to that country ? To those that say our foreign aid has strings attached, the witch camps have been open and documented for decades and we still give foreign aid to Ghana.
     
  9. Scepticalscribe, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    Fair comment.

    Okay, the first point I wish to make is that - it ought to go without saying - is that I find the idea of such practices beyond abhorrent, and the idea that they might be defended under the catch all blanket excuse of 'our culture' or 'our tradition' is something I have long thought repellant.

    Equally, the solution is obvious: Education for women (and thus, economic independence for women, plus access to safe, reliable and affordable both control). This benefits everyone in the entire society, makes change inevitable, and these are the precise reasons that it is so often fought so vehemently in some societies - the reactionaries aren't stupid, just extremely reluctant to support changes which will - eventually, and inevitably - serve to challenge the very basis under which they get to define the cultural, societal, economic, legal, and political state of society.

    Therefore, if you wanted one, this - the education of girls and women - is the single most important factor in ensuring cultural, social and economic progress (political and legal progress, too) and is the single key to achieving social progress. However, - and this is also key - its effects aren't felt immediately, but rather, tend to emerge twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years down the line, but, by then, you have a society that has been transformed beyond all recognition.

    I'm not American and - while I have met individuals from USAID - I do not know the criteria under which US aid is disbursed, or what conditions are attached to it, or, for that matter, what competing interests get to determine a course of action re domestic & foreign policy in the US.

    If I had to hazard a guess, I would point out that Ghana - by the rather dismal standards which seem to apply across much of the African sub-continent - is - by a very long shot - by no means the worst country, culture, or society to be found in sub-Sahara Africa. In fact, it is one of the better countries, when judged by the usual comparative measurements (the annual reports of UNHDI, Transparency International, etc) for such things.

    It was the first (African) country to gain independence from colonial rule in the modern era, and had an extraordinarily impressive leader (Mr Nkrumah) at the time. In a way, it offered a sort of shining path - or served as a role model - to other countries seeking independence subsequently.

    Again, by the gloomy standards of much of the continent, it is not - by any means - the most corrupt, or repressive, and it has enjoyed periods of democratic rule. Moreover, its peace keepers tend to be relatively respected.

    So, - if asked to speculate on this - I would argue that Ghana will not be made an example of.

    Moreover, precisely because I have met some individuals - and held meetings with - some individuals, who served with USAID, - sounding them out on matters of mutual interest - I arrived at the conclusion - again, mere speculation on my part, I'm afraid - that not everyone I met who worked in USAID could have been said to have been a career aid worker. Preppy attire, casual but expensive clothes, that buzzing accent from Boston that is like an electric saw in your ears, even tan, perfect teeth - these are not individuals who have spent a decade of their lives slumming it in the most deprived outposts planet Earth can offer.

    Thus, superintending the flow of aid and auditing flawless accounts might not be the only reason such people are found in the capitals of some poverty stricken countries. They might be there to keep an eye on things, too.

    Thirdly, there might be competing claims, or needs - from, say, trade envoys. Trade envoys might have their own compelling reasons not to want a bit of - difficulty - created for the host government.

    Trade is not the only requirement which may influence the degree of pressure brought to bear on a host government to consider addressing - and preferably amending - some of the less attractive aspects of its traditions and culture.

    Military alliances tend to cover a multitude of sins and offer us many unfortunate examples of averted eyes and delicately held noses from a western perspective.

    Of course, the tragedy is that minorities - or the rights of the less powerful - including women - are often sacrificed to such needs.
     
  10. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #10
    I think your questions are good ones. I also think it's pretty disgraceful that here in the USA we still have very high rates of domestic abuse. Granted the vast majority of these cases don't involve people who are subjectively termed witches and then locked up (although may do live and sometimes die in isolation and fear); nonetheless it's shameful we tolerate this level of human rights abuse in a country with a Consittuion and laws that suggest we have much higher standards than we're meeting:

    On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

    1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

    1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

    1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

    On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

    (source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
    Considering we apparently don't do as much as we need to do to prevent human rights abuses on our own turf, it might not surprise me to learn that we don't tack on quid pro quo expectations of other nations cleaning up their human rights act when we supply foreign aid.
     
  11. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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    #11
    No. can we please stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Let Canada or France be the world police for a while.
     

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