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Stolen Childhood


Jun 1, 2004
UNICEF, in its latest report, says that though encouraging progress has been made to improve the lot of children the world over, much remains to be done. The world body has given its assessment with regard to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals decided by all the nations under the aegis of the United Nations in the year 2000.

In its sixth [the latest] Progress for Children report, UNICEF says the top child killers are aids, pneumonia and pregnancy deaths and adds that these areas will have to be the focus in the future.

The good news is that infant mortality is at a record low level ever. This could be achieved because of immunization and anti-malarial measures. Major improvements in measles immunization, breastfeeding rates, malaria prevention and supplements of vitamin A means the child today is better protected from common illnesses.

Also breast feeding is on the increase, which is something to cheer about as breast feeding alone is capable of cutting infant mortality by 13%. Better access to aids drugs has meant that mother and child are better protected from the scourge.

Improvements in education, gender equality and child protection are more good news.

But there is much cause for alarm. Under nutrition is still rampant amongst children, about 143 million of them are starving. Half of these hungry children are in South Asia.

Also treatment of pneumonia and malaria, which are the commonest children diseases, is still insufficient. Moreover half a million women still die every year [mostly in Africa] during pregnancy and childbirth. And of course aids is still the perennial danger for a child’s life.


Jun 1, 2004
Religious hypocrisy leads small Nigerian souls to endless sufferings

Witchcraft is not uncommon in this age of computer and economic revolution across the globe but the manner in which it is prevailing in Nigeria defies all human values. In various parts of the west African country, Evangelical pastors have made it a lucrative business for themselves to brand young children, sometimes infants, as witches who are spreading evil in the villages.

The most unfortunate part of the story is that parents pay the pastors large sums of money to get rid of their own children. This is another tragic fact that I am having to discuss involving the plight of unfortunate young children which is the direct result of senseless superstitions.

According to various human rights groups, the blind belief of child witches is prevalent among all the sections of the society, literate and illiterate, wealthy and the poor, law enforcement agencies, law makers and of course religious leaders. The pastors earn large sums of money, required for deliverances, from the parents of the victimized child. Undoubtedly this horrific practice of torturing young children in the name witch hunt is an extreme form of child trafficking and abuse. Religious superstitions among the locals have made these corrupt pastors spread this evil practices for lucrative returns.

Though Nigeria is a oil-rich state, poverty is widespread and the religious leaders have taken undue opportunities to earn illegal money. The influential pastors blame the child witches or wizards of bringing misfortune to the lives of the population like poverty, unemployment, diseases, natural disasters, etc. The victims are then inhumanely tortured and on most occasions burnt alive in front of their parents and fellow villagers. The Nigerian government has been largely unsuccessful in tackling the problem given the deep superstitious beliefs among the population.

The state of Akwa Ibom in the Niger delta is particularly notorious for these tragic events. The presence of influential ‘Black Magic’ doctors in African societies as a whole also adds fuel to the evil practice of torturing young children. These self-proclaimed doctors or healers of black-magic are none other than corrupt individuals who are involved in the lucrative business of child trafficking and exploit the poor sections of the society by their dubious teachings.

The most unfortunate thing is the involvement of various African churches in these criminal acts. Children are regarded as gifts of God and yet the lives of those children are being destroyed by the preachers of religion. Its utterly condemnable and infuriating.

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Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

This Shabd is found on page 874 of the SGGS ji.

First, the CONTEXT.

The systematic corruption of spirituality by the clergy is a phenomenon that cuts across all major spiritual thought...

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