Saturday, March 11, 2006

The sun is going away, but don't panic...

FEAR BECAUSE OF IGNORANCE

BUJA (Reuters) - The Nigerian government, anxious to avoid a repeat of riots that marked a solar eclipse in 2001, warned citizens they may suffer "psychological discomfort" during a new eclipse this month but urged them not to panic.

Information Minister Frank Nweke said an eclipse five years ago caused riots in northern Borno state because people did not know why it happened.

"Some people even felt some evil people in their communities were responsible for the eclipse," he said in a statement on Thursday aimed at reassuring Nigerians that the eclipse is expected to darken parts of the country on March 29.

"The eclipse is not expected to have any real damaging effect, only social and psychological discomforts are envisaged," Nweke said.

He did not explain what the discomforts might be.

Eclipse causes Nigerians riot 2001

8 comments:

Sean said...

OMG. Why the hell didn't they just explain the science being a solar eclipse? What a horrible way to address a serious educational problem.

Superstition in all its forms needs eradication. This is just horrifying to me.

Ugh.

Stardust said...

Sean - I see you used this for your recent post. It's horrifying that this ancient way of thinking still continues in the 21st century!

I wondered that too -- why don't the officials just explain what a solar eclipse is? Maybe it is because the people will not allow themselves to HEAR the "evil" messages anyway. It's hard to talk to someone who has closed ears because they think they are going to be "zapped" by some invisible entity if they allow themselves to think rationally.

Cassandra said...

Wow. I've never heard of this. CRAZY!!

Maybe it is because the people will not allow themselves to HEAR the "evil" messages anyway.

I agree. There is no reasoning with people in this state of mind, and I can't imagine they would take it as education. They'd probably see it as the work of Satan (or what ever evil it is that they believe in).

I'm sad for all of the children there.

Rusko Elvenwood said...

Another great example of the clash of science and religion. Great post, Thanks!

Deedee said...

People never cease to amaze me. Stupidity is something I have very little tolerance for.

Also, off topic, but in response to your question, Stardust, I'm doing better. Still a little strange though, because there are people who didn't even know I was pregnant. I'm doing better, though. Thanks for your concern.

Cori said...

Although I unerstand everyone's responses to the lack of scientific knowledge amongst the average Nigerian I am also amazed at the lack of cultural knowledge concerning the vast majority of African nations. I think it is essential that we keep reminding ourselves that we westerners operate in a very specific western, individualistic paradigm which has developed over hundreds of years along the ideas of rational thought, logic and the like. There are millions of people across the planet who do not exist within this paradigm and don't even care to.

Can we really be so arrogant as to assume our paradigm is superior to anothers? Of course, Nigerians, and all members of our human race, should know about the world around us. But lets be very humble in the way we speak about the knowledge that exists within other cultures. Spiritual knowledge, for example, is very precious to many Africans.

Stardust said...

Cori- Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

First of all...killing each other because of ignorance or a supernatural belief is NOT spiritual and beautiful the way you make it sound. This is actually very dangerous.

We must also keep in mind that governments in Africa wish to keep the people ignorant of the modern world so it is easier to control the masses. Most tribal religions and traditions in Africa are no longer "pure" and are mixed with christian mythology which has created a hodge-podge of mixed beliefs.

I have a Ugandan friend who I have known for more than 10 years and she is extremely frustrated by the ignorance around her even in a big city like Kampala. She is a widow who's husband was killed when the Amin regime was in power. She has 4 grown sons. It is a struggle to get any kind of an education there and citizens have to pay high tuitions if they want their children to have a chance of becoming a part of modern society. The men in Uganda think it is ok to rape women. If a woman is raped, and she reports it, the cases are usually dismissed. Many husbands have mistresses and wives have no recourse but to allow it.

When millions in Africa are starving and dying of AIDS in mass numbers because missionaries are telling them it is wrong to use condoms...and they are killing each when solar eclipses happen and other reasons in 2006. This is not arrogance, this is FACT.

If you want to say it is the arrogance of the imperialists and christian missionaries that made things worse over there, then I would agree.

Look at this story of the control of people using this spirituality here
Pastors and prophecies call Uganda election

Stardust said...

Sorry, I forgot to put the link in
Pastors and prophecies call Uganda election