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09 December 2019

Witch killings: Anthropological and Juridical Perspectives

East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin witchcraft in east timor juridical anthropological perspectives

I recently came upon a paper Beyond Democratic Tolerance: Witch Killings in Timor-Leste [1] in which an earlier debate between myself and Nicholas Herriman demonstrated some fundamental misconceptions by anthropologists as apologists for all things of custom, including law.

I hold a formal degree in anthropology and sociology so I am not simply approaching the problem of extra-judicial killings of innocent citizens, by, in effect, a crazed mob, from a juristic perspective only but from an entirely holistic analysis.

I am particularly concerned about the proposition that democracy in not inimical to witch killings.

"To the extent that this is true, it appears that democracy is not antithetical to witch killings."

That is a proposition that must be answered because it is fundamentally very problematical.