Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Some Rituals Just Suck, Sorry

According to the New York Times, many African villages have a clensing ritual after a man's death whereby one of the dead man's relatives must have sex with his widow. Apparently, some politicians are now trying to curb this practice due to the high rates of HIV infection in many African countries.

In the hours after James Mbewe was laid to rest three years ago, in an unmarked grave not far from here, his 23-year-old wife, Fanny, neither mourned him nor accepted visits from sympathizers. Instead, she hid in his sister's hut, hoping that the rest of her in-laws would not find her.

But they hunted her down, she said, and insisted that if she refused to exorcise her dead husband's spirit, she would be blamed every time a villager died. So she put her two small children to bed and then forced herself to have sex with James's cousin.

Man, I had no idea that this was praticed. I do not care how traditional this and how much this is part of their culture. And I really do not care if I sound insensitive or jingoistic by condemning it. Simply put, this practice is retarded without the risk of AIDS. What man would be keen on having his wife screwed by some idiot cousin right after his funeral? What kind of woman would want to be raped right after her husband died? Certainly not me. It surprises me that this ritual has survived for so long. Perhaps AIDS will put the final nail in its coffin. Let's hope so.

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