STUDENTS THREATENED BY SORCERY
By Fr Giorgio Licini – Catholic Reporter PNG
Yes, “Christian churches must step up” as The National newspaper said on 24 April (p. 32) in regards to sorcery. But as I was talking with a group of university students on the issue, a few other suggestions also emerged. First have to realize that the root cause of everything is the evil of jealousy. The students feel threatened. A girl originally from the Gulf province said that she never set foot in her village since she was born. She maintains that about twenty of her relatives succumbed to sorcery in the last few years alone. Her father barely survived it when he travelled back from Port Moresby to the remote area to settle some land issues. Another student, originally from Bogia was telling a similar story. You could feel a sense of despair, suffering and injustice in their facial expression. The two wondered why the sacrifice of education should make them outcasts and a target for murder in their place of origin.
According to their information more and more poor and isolated youth are turning to sorcery practices out of envy towards anybody who may show to be one step ahead of them. It is like if the evil part of the human person would have the upper hand in the inner struggle between good and bad.
The students think that there is a religious aspect of the problem to be addressed by the Churches. But they also think that the new generations should be taken out of isolation through better education, communication, travelling, positive and alternative entertainment.
When asked about the main infrastructural difference they notice between the urban and rural set up the students, however, can hardly mention electrification. The reason is probably that they grew up in Port Moresby and never realised that lack of electrical power in rural areas means long nights, no alternative entertainment, no radio and television, no movies, no computer, no good communication networks.
The fight against sorcery can probably be totally won in a few generations, but everybody has to do his part: the Churches, but also the education system and the government by investing in the electrification of the country and what follows it. You remove electricity from a modern country and you go back one thousand years. You put it in a developing country and immediately you jump ahead.