November 14, 2011


It's not surprising to hear stories like Ethiopian tribes killing their infants and children for what seem like ridiculous and insignificant reasons.

Like when a baby is born to a woman who hasn't gone through the marriage ceremony rites, or when a baby's top teeth come in before his bottom teeth, or when a child is injured in certain ways. These babies, called mingi, are cursed, and must be killed in order to protect the rest of the tribal members from drought, famine and death. The tribes don't see it as murder, they see it as protecting the rest of their members. By sacrificing one infant they see it as a sort of insurance policy that must not be allowed to expire.

Naturally, the mothers of these mingi children are sad at the loss of their babies. The connection they have with their babies while they're still developing is understated, and even when the women know they must give up their babies (often without even being able to look at them before they're killed) they still want to keep them. But they don't because they don't have a choice.

North Carolina used to (as recently as 2003) legally allow the forced sterilization of people deemed to have undesirable genetic traits, which included poverty, alcoholism and promiscuity, in order to improve the genetics of the area. The state eugenics board (aimed at "improving the genetic composition of a population") was formed in the 1920s and tens of thousands of women and men were sterilized until the 1970s. Many of the victims had no idea what was happening to them. One woman was sterilized at 13, immediately after giving birth to the child she had after her rape, and didn't find out about it until she was married 6 years later and trying to have more children.

This is America. Things like that should never happen here. It should never happen anywhere, but we're supposed to be a country of educated, free people. These victims, the ones who are still alive, might not even be compensated. The state issued an apology a few years ago, which was seen as too little too late. Sad.

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