Monday, July 7, 2008

Rebuttal to Anderson Cooper’s Article : “Cameroon’s Cursed Children”

Rebuttal to Anderson Cooper’s Article: “Cameroon’s ‘Cursed’ Children” (http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/06/16/cameroons-cursed-children/)

I am sorry for the late reply. I went to Mexico and just came back and had other imperatives to carter for. Nevertheless, due to the numerous calls reminding me to react, I decided to give it a thought. This article is a rebuttal to the article “Cameroon’s 'Cursed' Children” jointly published by Anderson Cooper, Dr Sanjay Gupta and Karen Saylors. The article though apparently credible lacks a lot of substance both scientifically, sociologically, religiously and morally. The purport of this screed is to unravel those fallacies inherent in their publication and to expose its intention as cavalier, nescient and exploitative.

Anderson et al start by saying the kids are cursed because the villagers told them so. Simply because the people of Raveloe in Silas Marner call Silas Manner a ghost does not mean he is a ghost. Neither Epie nor Doly Winthrop who directly dealt with him had the same feeling about Mr. Marner. As a journalist, he should have taken time to investigate before he writes. While the western society is an individualistic society of everyone for himself or herself, but God for us all, the African and most oriental societies are extendedly closed communities that are actually aware of the condition of every family member.

Neither is a curse limited to stealing anything nor is it placed on the children because they are illegitimate. In addition, their not going to the doctor for whatever disease is not because they believe it is a curse but usually the last resort because of their paucity. Habitually, they try to cure themselves at home before they go elsewhere. It is not because they believe the disease is a result of them being bewitched.

Would someone tell me how many people go for medical checkup regularly in the West where people have the means and insurance company to amortize some of their costs? Does that mean they believe they could be bewitched or if they are sick but have not gone to the hospital does that mean they believe they have been bewitched? One can only talk of a curse if the ailment visits third to fourth generation (Ex. 20:5; Ex. 34:7; Num 14:18; Deut. 5:9). That means; the great grand parent must suffer from it, the grand parent too, the father and then the son. There is no proof that that illness has been a family disease. So that disqualifies the idea of the kids suffering from a spell or a curse. It is an oppression but not yet a curse. That means there is a difference between supernatural attacks and curses.

Like Dr Valentine Ngwa and other Cameroonians have already rebutted, the disease: Buruli did not start in Cameroon, and the name was not coined in Cameroon[1]. This theory is endorsed by Wikipedia[2]. As such, that disease would not have been placed by the witchdoctor. Disease from witchcraft can neither be traced through the X-ray, scan or medical tests. To better understand the role of the herbalist or traditional doctor generally called witchdoctor, one must understand the seven pillars of African traditional religions which I am not a believer.

The first is The Creator God who assumes the position of the Creator is same like God in the Hebrew Bible or Christian religion. However, they believe that this Supreme Being has retired and left things for the lesser spirits to fulfill through the ancestors and other mediums. The second is the shrine which is the residence of gods’ presence. The third is the Priests or Priestesses who are the mediators between the people and the spirits or the gods as enacted in the Videos The Battle of Musanga I& II and The Egg Of Life I, II & III. seem to be closer to the Supreme Being through the spirits they come in contact with through libations and oblations ceremoniously or unceremoniously. The priest could fall out of favor with the gods or spirits if they fail to do service in the proper manner. The fourth is the worshipper. The devotee is a person with character and serves as role model to the society. The fifth is the herbalist who is the one who uses herbs to heal. Some of them acquired the powers supernaturally, others were orally taught while some went and took lessons from a traditional herbalist. The sixth is a psychiatrist - mental harmonizer. In most cases they are the sum total of the diviners and herbalists with each acting in their own sphere and category. Finally, the seventh was the diviner serving as the modern day scientist, Hunter's/explorers. The diviner is someone with supernatural powers to foretell the future, explain the past and forthtell the circumstances of the present which trouble the victim. Therefore, the herbalist is not the same as the witchdoctor. There are some people who act as both herbalists and diviners.

If every child born out of wedlock was being attacked by Buruli, then Naturel would not be alone in Akonolinga. So that means Naturale is not suffering from Buruli because he was conceived out of wedlock but simply because he was exposed to the disease.

There are many herbalists in Africa and oriental societies because of the role the herbalists play. The herbalist in the African society before the advent of colonization was the equivalent of the doctor who used herbs and other supernatural powers to heal the sick. Some had to make divination to know what the illness was before they healed. Others consulted other divination sources like Obansinjom (2:46-5:15) amongst the Manyu people.

It is surprising that Dr Sanjay Gupta and Karen Saylors only discovered the disease today. There are fetishes that cast spells on people for stealing or harming others. Taking someone else’s mango without their permission is stealing and once you steal from a farm with a spell, you are exposed to the effects of that fetish because at this moment you have denied your hedge of protection which is based on you staying holy.

The information given to Dr Sanjay by Karen Saylors shows how western anthropologists have bewitched their people with canards. The researchers from John Hopkins can continue studying it, but it is already an established fact that Buruli is caused by Mycobacteriun ulcerans and nothing else.

Witchcraft plays a role in the African society because it exists. First it exists because God in his word says it exists and secondly, because of its manifestations which could not be deem coincidental. I have personally lived tales of witchcraft though I believe it cannot hurt anyone covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Karen`s theory that Buruli could be zoonotic: spread from animal to human will be incorrect because that will mean we will have to find animals in Akonolinga with Buruli. We may furthermore destroy this theory by asking when did this disease start to affect animals and why did it not start since time immemorial? The simple answer is that Karen, Anderson and Sanjay could be working for those who think they can protect the animals and neglect the humans. After all, many so called anthropologists and doctors did write that HIV which only lives in human came from African monkeys.

The fact that flesh is coming out of the skin does not mean it comes from an animal. Perhaps leprosy and tuberculosis which are from the same family like Buruli are all caused by people eating animals.

Here is the deal: to stop Africans from eating animals one would have to leave their forests alone, so they can grow their special vegetables that were as rich as the meat they eat. Bushmeat is the easiest and cheapest means of protein for the people living in deforested regions of the country.

In fact; Africans are not discovering how to cure disease using herbs; they were born with it. Perhaps it is high time to start looking into African medicine for the treatment of many diseases like hypertension and other blood related diseases. I have lived in the US now for 9 years, one month and three weeks I have not been to the hospital because I have a particular disease. I have always regulated my blood pressure with herbs and controlled that of my mother with the same herbs though she blends hers with western medicine. Therefore, Buruli is neither from animals to humans nor is it from witchcraft.

When someone is attacked by witchcraft, they can suffer from any diseases especially diseases that no one will be able to find the cause. This disease is not contagious, for if it was then Akonolinga would have suffered a pandemic.

However, the way Anderson and his crew put it, it fetches them more sympathy and creates that heroic status so that they can raise more money and get many more opportunities to visit Africa: The Dark Continent. Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness has already told the West that if there was darkness in Africa then it is the West that took it there for originally it was a continent and it is a continent of light.

Why do people say they will cry when they see Naturale: the young man suffering from Buruli? The number of people living with untreatable diseases in the US outnumbers those in Africa. The number of homeless in America outnumbers those of Africa in general. So why don’t we take care of our own backyard and cry to satisfaction before we start to think about crying for Naturale abroad? Let them visit Downtown Atlanta and cry or go to Parrotsville Tennessee and weep. They don’t need to wait till they see Naturale before weeping; they should weep for the American jails and the immigration jails. They should mourn for racism in America which is a more dangerous disease than Buruli. That is what we need to fight right now and not how to prevent animals from being extinct.

Believing in a disease as a curse did not start in Africa. The Black Plague came in the 1330s, and it was regarded as a mysterious disease because it did not have a cure in medieval medicine[3]. In Europe, it was also believed to have come from witchcraft. Only naive Africans believe that Bushsmeat is the cause of HIV and Buruli.

My family and neighbors ate and sole Bushmeat, so I challenge anyone for any medical tests from STDs to whatever. If neither of us suffered from any of these diseases because we ate Bushmeat then we are a case study that none of these diseases was transmitted from animals to humans.

Perhaps you may want to know that most journalists of Mr. Cooper’s caliber want to use spurious and frivolous reportage to become the Mother Teresas of modern times. Indeed, they did ephemerally achieve their aim when you listen to some of the blind doctors writing them to ask for the cure or the plant that the natives used. Why don`t they go to Akonolinga themselves and ask for the plant. Why do they have to rely on a middle man? Now, the poor healers in Akonolonga are neglected and the respect given to Dr Sanjay and his team.

The truth about it is that the western world fulfills my adage that when a people have suffered for too long, they will drink with insatiable gullibility fairytales on fairylands. The West is always trying to use physical remedies for spiritual equations. The Africans have known that, and they do just fine with it. They have learnt how to separate the two.

Take the case of alcoholism in the US and Germany where they attribute it to hereditary causes. No, it is not when it is moving from the third to the fourth generation. That is a curse and only a spiritual solution will solve it. The Africans have to be careful because this is a medium to hypnotize them, and soon there will be a follow-up with some vaccine. If any of you trusts those western vaccines coming to Africa and even the placeboes then you must have sold your souls due to ignorance.

People say Karen studied the medicine. She did not study anything. The healer told her and now she becomes the discoverer. All rights to the treatment of Buruli belong to the healer in Akonolinga.

Until then, I hope CNN will reject Mr. Cooper’s report but if not publish it as evidence of free speech in America.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs199/en/index.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buruli_ulcer
[3] http://www.themiddleages.net/life/decameron.html

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