Pre-Enlightenment Life

I read a lot of disturbing stories in the press, but this from the New York Times is among the worst: “Albinos, Long Shunned, Face Threat in Tanzania.”

Discrimination against albinos is a serious problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but recently in Tanzania it has taken a wicked twist: at least 19 albinos, including children, have been killed and mutilated in the past year, victims of what Tanzanian officials say is a growing criminal trade in albino body parts.

Many people in Tanzania â?? and across Africa, for that matter â?? believe albinos have magical powers. They stand out, often the lone white face in a black crowd, a result of a genetic condition that impairs normal skin pigmentation and strikes about 1 in 3,000 people here. Tanzanian officials say witch doctors are now marketing albino skin, bones and hair as ingredients in potions that are promised to make people rich.

The next time I hear an over-the-top attack on “the Enlightenment Project” from the likes of John Gray, I’ll remember this article. It reminds us of a social order minus “the Enlightenment Project” that Gray and his ilk so revile.

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