This appalling story is so bad that it leaves one, as a blogger, in the all-too-familiar position of feeling that one ought to blog it but not knowing what to say. It seems that the only excuse for burdening other people with the knowledge that child sacrifice for purposes of bringing prosperity has made a comeback and is now a huge problem in an African country, now, in this very day and age, and that the police aren't doing anything about it is that one has something at least mildly interesting to say about it. I'm not sure that I do, plus I'm working on a technical paper. But one wants a break occasionally from a technical paper, and what better break could there be (blogger sarcasm) than writing a blog post about child sacrifice in Uganda.
The linked story speaks for itself, but if you don't want to read it, here are some brief facts. In Uganda, witchdoctors and their henchmen kidnap children, chop them up, and bury their bodies in places dictated by clients who purchase the service in hopes that the sacrifice of a child will bring prosperity to their businesses. The problem has gotten so bad that the police have been pressured and have started an Anti-Human Sacrifice Police Task Force (not sure why it isn't "human sacrifice," but it's allegedly to address the problem of child sacrifice), but the task force's own numbers of child sacrifices taking place are suspiciously low, and all in all it looks like window dressing over a situation of corruption and indifference to the kidnap and ritual murder of children. In one case, a child actually survived and has identified one of his would-be murderers, a local witch doctor named Awali, but the police claim his eyewitness testimony isn't good enough and won't arrest Awali. An undercover news organization sent a group to pose as potential customers. Awali bragged of his child sacrifice service to them. They reported it to the police, but he remains free. People have called on the government to "regulate witch doctors" in the country, whatever that might mean, apparently without effect.
The first thing that struck me about this story was the nightmarish concurrence of ancient darkness with modern jargon. A child sacrifice police task force??! Worse, an ineffective child sacrifice police task force? Everything old is new again, and when it's new, it gets the bizarre patina of the bureaucratic state, which makes it look like a satiric situation in a dystopian future novel. Regulating witch doctors? Does this mean we want child sacrifice to be safe, legal, and rare? Okay, I admit, it probably means they want the witch doctors confined to sacrificing only goats, but you have to admit that the very notion of regulating witch doctors who are presently engaging in child sacrifice (as opposed to executing them all, for example), makes one feel that one has entered a crazy and unreal world. (To be clear, the news story reports that a pastor very concerned about this horror is calling for the police to regulate witch doctors. That may be the BBC's own phrase. If it's accurate, though, this seems to mean that "regulation" of some sort is the best the pastor can hope for from the authorities.)
The second thought that came to me was the title of this post. No, I don't mean it seriously. Nor do I think that there is any other country, especially not Britain, who at this time would rule Uganda in such a way as to put a stop to this or even very seriously curtail it. If we decided to add Uganda to our empire (and who would want it?), our soldiers would probably have to undergo sensitivity training, led by Awali and his cronies, on how to accommodate indigenous religious practices. But if it were possible to bring back the old British empire and hang Awali, should anyone be crying? Slightly more seriously: Granting that the point is practically moot, and granting all the problems for the country holding the empire of holding an empire, could there never be a real-world situation in which it would be better for all concerned if a very dark country were ruled from outside in such a fashion that the dark impulses and practices of its native culture were suppressed?
The third thought is this: We should maybe be looking askance at immigration from Uganda. And "native religious leaders" (by which I mean leaders of native, non-Christian religions) should absolutely be prohibited from immigrating to the U.S. Yes, this is discrimination in immigration. Bully for discrimination in immigration. Do we really want a Child Sacrifice Police Task Force in Omaha, Nebraska? Worse, do we really want an ineffective Child Sacrifice Police Task Force in Omaha, Nebraska?