But in this case, it was the “Daywalkers” who were responsible for the actual death and destruction, and… tax evasion? Just kidding about that last one, Good luck with those IRS payments, Wesley.
1. Before we start, let’s get this out of the way: yes, this happened in Africa.
2. If you grew up in a developed nation with a decent education system and still hold superstitious beliefs yourself, you don’t get to feel superior: these people at least have an excuse.
3. The entire point of this article is to drive home how important a rational, evidence-based education is, and conversely, how not-harmless beliefs in superstitions are.
4. Giving away the premise of the article this early on is generally a bad practice in a day when people have the attention spans of a
5. That sentence was deliberately left unfinished; that was a joke.
6. So is continuing this list past item 3.
7. If you explain a joke it stops being funny, unless you overexplain it.
8. Anyone who directs an accusation of “cultural imperialism” at people wanting to stop superstition-inspired violence has probably never even been punched in the face, let alone lived under the risk of such deadly violence.
The Recurring Issue of “Vampire Attacks” in Malawi
At least five people have been killed and more injured in ongoing mob attacks, prompting the UN Department on Safety and Security to issue a report recommending withdrawal of all Non-Governmental Organizations and UN staff from the region. The violence is directed at people accused of Vampirism and those sheltering them.
The report from the UNDSS attributes the attacks to rumors of vampirism that originated in Mozambique, the country neighboring Malawi, but provided no specifics as to the origin. Accusations of Vampirism and resulting violence are not new to the area. In 2002, a similar outbreak of hysteria included the beating of three Catholic priests and the stoning death of another man accused of collaborating.
The Cynical Reality
As if it were a script from the world’s most fucked-up episode of Scooby Doo, there is evidence supporting the idea that these rumors–both in 2002 and in the present day–were started by local opposition groups to undermine the government and disrupt the efforts of relief workers. In both cases, rumors accuse the aid workers themselves of being the vampires or their agents, and the government of trading access to the locals’ blood in order for the aid.
In the 2002 incident, the President of Malawi directly addressed the accusations, responding not with incredulity about the claim of vampires existing, but outrage at the idea of government trading blood to them: “No government can go about sucking (the) blood of its own people,” said President Bakili Muluzi. “That’s thuggery.”