Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On Cannibalism


Meiwes makes German legal history by appearing in court for alleged cannibalism.
Full Story


In response to my protests on the stereotyping of Africans as savages, a friend pointed out the fact that what is happening in Africa is recent and therefore makes it easier for people to stereotype. Among the atrocities, are allegations of forced cannibalism.

I don't doubt that cannibalism exists in Africa but like any Westerner my knowledge of it is from what I have heard. No one I know ever saw or witnessed a cannibal at work.

It is a fact that cannibalism existed at one point in almost all human societies and even those that claim to be more civilized have had variations of it. In Europe during the middle ages and the time of the crusades, it was widely practised.

On the other hand while reading up on the subject I came a cross one interesting fact I wasn't aware of. Stories of cannibalism where exaggerated by explorers and told to their Kings and Queens to justify the conquest of indigenous peoples in all parts of the world. The premise was that these great nations were actually saving the "savages" from themselves or their enemy. For such a noble cause, these leaders in turn got the support of their people. Most of these stories had no substantial evidence as research today shows.

The biggest Cannibalism lie is, Idi Amin. To completely demonise him, some unscrupulous western journalist came up with a tale that was fully bought by the world even by Africans themselves.
Cannibalism where practised is particular to a tribe and a clan. Idi Amin's particular group of people ironically were a more cultured lot that have no rumoured cannibalism. So culturally, there is no basis for claiming him a cannibal. As an individual, all those who knew him and worked with him, even those who barely survived his wrath deny that allegation. Murderer he was but not a cannibal.

A good place to start is, cautiously with WIKIPEDIA, from where you can get liked to more credible sources on the real nature of Cannibalising and how it is indeed a Universal issue.

Also here is a PhD Thesis on the subject from a historical perspective and how dealing with cannibalism was biased to actually oppress people of color.

The History of Cannibalism

One thing you will notice in most articles is, when cannibalism in Europe is tackled it is called differently, e.g. 'cannibalism out of necessity ' like the Early Europeans in Australia. Also there are few Historians that go into details about it while you will find extensive mostly unsupported texts about cannibalism in other parts of the world.

Present day cannibal stories do exist in Europe with Germany, Denmark and Ukraine having some very recent headline making stories and very rich ones in recent history. So again, cannibalism is not the specialty of Africans.